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Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games to go ahead without spectators

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will go ahead without spectators due to ongoing concerns over the Covid-19 pandemic, organisers confirmed today (August 16). 

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG), and the Government of Japan met remotely to discuss possible spectator numbers. 

Originally, it had been decided that spectator numbers for the Paralympics would be determined following the closure of the Olympic Games. 

However, as a number of Japanese areas are currently in a state of emergency due to the pandemic, it has been decided that fans will not be permitted into Games venues.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga also said that the state of emergency in Tokyo and other areas will be extended until September 12, with the Games due to begin on 24 August and conclude on 5 September.

In a statement, the IPC said: “The details of the agreement are as follows. In light of the current emergency declaration issued for Tokyo, Saitama and Chiba prefectures, another declaration of the state of emergency being requested by Shizuoka prefecture and the current infection situation broadly, more stringent measures will be taken for competitions to be held in these prefectures, including having no spectators.” 

The bodies also encouraged spectators to stay away from road events and said that the public should instead watch the Games from home. 

The statement continued: “We very much regret that this situation has impacted the Paralympic Games, following the Olympic Games, and we sincerely apologise to all ticket buyers who were looking forward to watching the Games at the venues. 

“We hope that you understand that these measure are unavoidable and being implemented in order to prevent the spread of infection.”

The Olympic Games also went ahead with no fans present, when prefectures announced state of emergencies due to Covid-19. 

Japan has just under 18,000 confirmed new coronavirus cases, with 15,400 people having died from the virus throughout the pandemic. 

Image: K. K. Yam Amot on Unsplash