COVID-19: With the pandemic still growing, stadiums to remain open for only 5,000 spectators

Should the number of cases drop, such venues can open up to 50 per cent of their capacity. In Europe and the US, sporting and cultural events are still held behind closed doors. Taiwan and South Korea are responding in like fashion. Ban on events can cause anxiety and depression.

Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Japan yesterday decided to maintain for at least another month the limit of 5,000 spectators per individual sporting event, concert and other cultural activity.

For the authorities, nothing suggests that the pandemic is slowing down, but should the number of cases drop, they have not ruled out easing restrictions before the end of September for stadiums but to no more than 50 per cent of their capacity.

In Japan, nearly 500 new cases were confirmed yesterday, bringing the total to 63,900 with about 1,200 dead.

Tokyo saw a major drop. For the first time since 8 July, the capital has had fewer than 100 cases per day, down from 212 on Sunday.

Since the end of May, when Shinzo Abe's government lifted the state of emergency, only 1,000 people could attend big events, this until 1 July.

Japan’s approach is different from that taken in Europe and the United States, where sports competitions are held without an audience, and cancelled in some cases.

Taiwan has also opened its stadiums. The island has successfully dealt with the COVID-19 outbreak. Since mid-May, it has allowed up to 1,000 people to attend baseball matches, the national sport.

After a recent upsurge in cases, South Korea on Saturday re-imposed certain restrictions, banning the presence of spectators during matches and other sporting events. Until then, the limit was 25 per cent of stadium capacity.

Analysts note that, as with job loss and school closures, banning sports events and shows as a result of the coronavirus has negatively affected people’s psychological state. For example, the psychiatric clinic Tokyo Mental Health has seen a 50 percent increase in clients since March, with an average of 1,500 patients per month.