Japan, who are set to host the Olympics in two weeks time, have announced that they will be in a state of emergency for the duration of the Games due to COVID-19.
The Olympics will run from the 28 July – 8 August, with the Paralympics starting on 24 August.
Japan’s current state of emergency will end this Sunday, but a new one will be put in place the Monday after.
This is set to last till the 22 August, right through the Olympics and two days before the start of the Paralympics.
Japan had announced that stadiums were allowed 50% of their capacity for fans, up to 10,000, but this is now likely to be curtailed, with a rising rate of COVID-19 infections in the capital city.
Fans from abroad had already been banned from attending, but the decision to allow venues to have up to 50% capacity was made just under three weeks ago and now looks set to change.
The IOC had said previously in a statement: “In the event that a state of emergency, restrictions on spectator numbers at the Games, including non-spectator competitions, will be based on the content of the state of emergency or other relevant measures in force at that time.
In the event of any rapid change in infection status and in the capacity of the medical care system, a meeting will be held promptly to consider further measures.”
That’s not the only thing expected to change either.
Bars and restaurants serving alcohol are set to be requested to close.
A ban on serving alcohol is seen as a key step to tone down Olympic-related festivities and keep people from drinking and partying.
Tokyo residents are also expected to face stay-home requests and watch the games on TV from home.
A set of rules will apply to participating athletes, which includes direction on travel, eating and general moving around during the Games and breaking these will lead to disciplinary action. Including the threat of expulsion if they refuse to take a COVID test.
For example, they will not be allowed to use public transport, and they would be able to eat only in designated areas, such as in their hotel restaurant, venues and their rooms.
All athletes will be required to record two negative tests before arriving in Japan and will also need to wear masks within venues almost at all times, including during medal ceremonies.