Paralympics to Go Without Fans as Tokyo Battles Virus Surge

The Paralympics will be held without fans at venues in the Tokyo region as the Japanese capital battles its worst-yet surge of coronavirus.

All events in Tokyo and neighboring prefectures of Saitama and Chiba, as well as in Shizuoka, will be held without spectators during the games running from Aug. 24 through Sept. 5, the Tokyo Organizing Committee said on Monday. Tokyo is scrambling to control ballooning virus cases, which have prompted the metropolitan and national governments to consider extending a state of emergency in the capital, currently set to be lifted at the end of August.

In light of the virus emergency “and the current infection situation broadly, more stringent measures will be taken for competitions to be held in these prefectures, including having no spectators,” according to the joint statement with the International Paralympic Committee and the Tokyo and national governments.

The decision comes after the government’s top virus adviser Shigeru Omi called on Tokyoites to reduce their outings by 50% compared with the period immediately prior to the current emergency.

The Olympics were held behind closed doors from July 23 through Aug. 8 after organizers faced pressure to better protect public health during the global pandemic. The decision to bar fans was a first in the modern Olympic movement that dates back to the late 19th century.

Since the start of the Olympics, the daily number of coronavirus cases has more than quadrupled in Tokyo, driven by the more contagious delta variant of the virus.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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