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Tokyo 2020 could still be held without fans due to Delta variant fears

TheTicketingBusiness understands Tokyo 2020 could still take place behind closed doors over fears the event has the potential to become a ‘superspreader’ event for the COVID-19 Delta variant.

Government officials, Tokyo Local Organising Committee members and leading scientists are due to meet on July 8 to discuss the situation, with a source claiming a decision could be made to cancel all tickets and hold the Games in empty arenas. The Government recently announced plans to allow up to 50% capacity or a maximum 10,000 spectators at Olympic and Paralympic venues.

Among the chief concerns are that volunteers will not be fully vaccinated by the time the Games starts in less than a month on July 23. The Government has only recently accelerated jabs for tens of thousands of event workers, meaning many will not be immune until after the Games has started.

Last week, in an extraordinary step, a spokesperson for Japan’s Emperor Naruhito expressed the head of state’s concern that Tokyo 2020 could become an epicentre of a potential Dellta pandemic.

Fan viewing zones have now been abandoned due to concerns over case numbers in Japan. Case numbers peaked in the country, which has a population of 127 million, in mid-May at around 6,400 per day, but the current seven-day average is now down to 1,497. Deaths peaked at 118 on May 27 and have now fallen to a seven-day average of 34. Only around 11% of the population is now fully vaccinated, with 22% having had at least one jab.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games was due to take place in the summer of 2020 but was postponed for a year due to the COVID pandemic. Some 4.48 million tickets were initially sold for the Games.

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