The pandemic-delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics will take placed under a coronavirus state of emergency, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshide Suga confirmed Thursday.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshide Suga speaking at the start of the government’s COVID-19 task force meeting has decided to declare a new state of emergency for the capital from July 12 to August 22 covering the 16 days of the embattled Games in its entirety.
“The number of infected cases in the area including Tokyo has been increasing since the end of last month. The number of severe cases and bed occupancy rate continues to be on the low level, but considering the impact of variants, we need to enhance countermeasures so that the infection will not spread nationwide,” Yoshide Suga said.
Yoshide Suga added that a ban on serving alcohol in restaurants will continue during the state of emergency.
The decision comes as media reports in the country said the general public was expected to be banned from the opening ceremony in two weeks time and as Tokyo reported 920 new infections for Wednesday, the highest daily caseload since the middle of May.
It has raised questions over whether domestic spectators will still be allowed at the Games while organisers had already decided to ban overseas fans from the stands in March.
The state of emergency is the fourth for the Japanese capital since the pandemic began and it will cover the entire period of the Olympics, which are scheduled to run from July 23 to August 8.