The Tokyo Olympics will still be happening later this month despite the fact that Japan has just entered into another state of emergency due to the spreading of the Covid-19 virus. The Japanese government announced this week that it would be reinstating strict health and safety measures that will take effect next week and last throughout the Olympic Games.
The biggest measure that’s being taken is that no spectators will be allowed to attend the games, Olympic Minister Tamayo Marukawa announced this morning. Japanese media outlets reported that all venues in and around Tokyo will be completely unattended.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government reported 920 new Covid cases just 16 days before the Games. This is 200 more than any other single-day total since May. This Thursday the country reported another 896 cases. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga vowed to protect the nation as much as possible from further spreading.
“New infections are in their expansion phase and everyone in this country must firmly understand the seriousness of it. I vow to do everything we can to prevent the further spread of the infections.”
“I think we can all be very satisfied that the strict measures, having been established to protect everybody — the Japanese people and the participants of the Games — have proven to be successful,” said IOC president Thomas Bach.
Olympic organizers have outlined a plan that will enforce a “complex web of Covid countermeasures that will limit contact between Olympic participants and non-participant Japanese citizens,” according to Bach.
The measures will force “Level 1” participants (athletes, coaches, team officials and more) to be tested daily, and other levels of participation will be tested based on how often they’re in common Olympic spaces.
Dr. Shigeru Omi, a top government medical advisor, warned of “continuing risks of a resurgence of the infections that puts pressure on [Japan’s] medical systems.”
Olympic Organizers claimed that “in the event that a state of emergency or other priority measures aimed at preventing infection are implemented at any time after July 12, restrictions on spectator numbers at the Games, including non-spectator competitions, will be based on the content of the state of emergency or other relevant measures in force at that time.” It was officially announced today that no spectators would be allowed at the Games.
Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike promised that her city would “control the flow of people and be thorough with regard to measures to prevent infection during and around the Games.”
Japanese residents have been adamant in their disapproval of the Games still occurring this year despite the fact that so many countries have such different vaccination and infection rates.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.