07/02/2021, 10.12
JAPAN
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Suga: Olympics could be held behind closed doors

The Japanese prime minister considers the possibility after a new increase in Covid-19 cases. In all likelihood, the lottery to award tickets will be postponed.

 

Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - If Covid-19 cases continue to rise, the Olympics could be held behind closed doors, says Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. The leader will have to decide whether to maintain a state of near-emergency in the capital and in the surrounding prefectures three weeks before the start of the Games.

"There is a possibility of there being no spectators" at the Games, Suga said. "We will act with the safety and security of the Japanese people as our top priority."

Last month the government decided to admit a maximum of 10 thousand spectators against the advice of health experts, according to which the absence of the public would be the safest option. A lottery is due to be held on 6 July to assign a portion of tickets already booked.

Local newspapers report it is likely that this will be postponed until there is absolute certainty on the number of people admitted as public.

Citing anonymous sources, Yomiuri Shimbun writes that viewers may be prevented from attending evening events or accessing large facilities. No more tickets will be sold and foreign spectators had already been banned from participating.

After registering a minimum of 864 new cases on June 21, the infections began to rise again and yesterday there were 1,733 new infected. Japan has been less affected by the new wave of coronavirus than other Asian countries, but there are fears that the Olympics could put stress on the national health system. About 11% of the population has completed vaccination.

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