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Japan Considers Banning Spectators At Olympics To Avoid Coronavirus Spread

The Japanese government has considered banning all spectators at the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics as COVID-19 cases have surged, according to Reuters.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is set to announce new measures to combat the rising COVID-19 cases on Thursday, and authorities have said that a state of emergency for Tokyo is likely, according to Reuters.

Suga has vowed “to do everything we can to prevent the further spread of the infections,” the Associated Press reported.

Japan has already banned foreign spectators and is prepared to allow 50% capacity, or 10,000 to local attendees at the Summer Olympics, according to Reuters. Health experts have called for prohibiting all fans to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“Politically speaking, having no spectators is now unavoidable,” a ruling party source told Reuters.

The Olympics are scheduled to start July 23 and end Aug. 8, according to Reuters.

Japanese news outlet Sankei Daily said that the state of emergency is likely to last until Aug. 22, according to Reuters.

Tokyo recorded 920 new daily COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, marking the highest rate since May 13, according to Reuters.

“The infections are in their expansion phase, and everyone in this country must firmly understand the seriousness of it,” government medical adviser Dr. Shigeru Omi told reporters, according to the AP.

Omi emphasized that the next three months will be critical for Japan’s fight against COVID-19, according to the AP.

“Two-thirds of the infections in the capital region are from Tokyo, and our concern is the spread of the infections to neighboring areas,” said Ryuji Wakita, director-general of the National Institute of Infectious Disease.

Only 15% of Japanese citizens have been vaccinated, and the nation has had 810,000 cases resulting in 14,900 deaths, the AP reported.

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