The Tokyo 2020 Paralympics will be held without any spectators due to an alarming rise of COVID-19 cases in the host city, as well as several other parts of Japan, the organizers announced on Aug. 16.
Following a remote meeting, organizers confirmed in a press statement that spectators will not be allowed at the sports venues in Tokyo and the prefectures of Saitama, Chiba, and Shizuoka due to the serious COVID-19 situation in those areas.
The organizers also urged the general public not to attend the road events of the Games.
“We very much regret that this situation has impacted the Paralympic Games,” the organizers said.
“We sincerely apologize to all ticket buyers who were looking forward to watching the Games at the venues. We hope that you understand that these measures are unavoidable and being implemented in order to prevent the spread of infection. Everyone is encouraged to watch the Games at home,” the organizers further said.
However, students will still be allowed to attend the events at the request of local authorities or school administrations, the organizers said.
The organizers further said that they will immediately hold another meeting “in the event of any major changes in the infection situation.”
According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the city recorded 2,962 new cases on Aug. 16, bringing the city-wide tally to 282,094.
Data from the Japanese government showed that as of Aug. 15, Saitama prefecture has recorded 74,669 cases, Chiba prefecture with 62,578 cases, and Shizuoka prefecture with 13,692 cases.
The Paralympics will run from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.
A nationwide survey conducted by Kyodo News revealed on Aug. 16 that 64.7% of the respondents want the Paralympics to take place without spectators. Meanwhile, 19% said that the international sports event should be cancelled.
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