Officials ban spectators at Tokyo Olympics

Olympic rings in Tokyo, Japan
Olympic rings in Tokyo, Japan

The International Olympic Committee and government officials in Japan agreed Thursday not to allow spectators at the Tokyo Olympics later this month. 

As the Olympic torch moves closer to Tokyo for opening ceremonies on July 23, the city entered its fourth lockdown since the pandemic started. On Thursday, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared a state of emergency starting Monday through Aug. 22.

The city reported 920 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the highest number since May. Medical professionals worry about another surge lasting through August due to the quick spread of the delta variant and slow vaccine rollout in Japan.

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Will athletes be safe? So far, only four Olympic team members have tested positive for the coronavirus. Officials expect roughly 80 percent of those staying at the Olympic Village will be fully vaccinated by the time the games start.

Olympians will be required to quarantine for three days on arrival, social distance, get tested regularly, and participate in contact tracing. Only 15 percent of Japan’s population is fully vaccinated.

This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2021, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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