Japanese medical experts want NO FANS at this summer’s Olympics amid concerns they could spark a rise in Covid cases… but organisers are desperate for 10,000 in venues with a decision to be made next week
- Japan’s top medical experts want the Olympics to be held behind closed doors
- Tokyo 2020 organisers are desperate to welcome up to 10,000 fans in venues
- Decision on how many domestic fans will be allowed is to be made next week
- Tokyo’s state of emergency ends on Sunday and foreign fans are already banned
- It emerged earlier this week that Team GB stars may have to quarantine in Tokyo
- Find out the latest Tokyo Olympic news including schedule, medal table and results right here
A decision on how many domestic supporters – if any – will be allowed at the Games is set to be made as early as next week after Tokyo’s state of emergency is lifted on Sunday. Overseas spectators were banned back in March.
The Japanese government has said that 10,000 spectators can attend sporting events in areas not under any restrictions, a ruling Olympic chiefs hope will include the Games in Tokyo.
However, the government’s coronavirus adviser, Shigeru Omi, has led a report with other medical advisers warning that holding the Olympics with fans could increase Covid infections.
The experts wrote: ‘Holding with Games without spectators is the least risky option and we think desirable.
‘This event is different from ordinary sports events in scale and social interest and because it overlaps with summer vacations.
‘There is a risk the movement of people and opportunities to interact during the Olympics will spread infections and strain the medical system.’
Japan’s top medical experts have called for the Olympics to be held behind closed doors
It sets up a collision course with Tokyo 2020 organisers, pictured left is organising committee president Seiko Hashimoto, who want up to 10,000 fans in venues
Tokyo will come out of a state of emergency this weekend and go under ‘quasi-emergency’ measures until July 11, with new cases having fallen steadily since May.
The Japanese government, Tokyo government, Tokyo 2020 organisers, International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee will meet to discuss spectators next week.
Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto said: ‘I would like it to be held with spectators. I plan to head into the five-way meeting with that in mind.’
Earlier this week it emerged Team GB stars may be forced to quarantine in hotel rooms for six days upon their arrival in Tokyo under rules which would throw their Olympic preparations into chaos.
Organisers revealed on Tuesday that athletes are not currently exempt from Japanese government restrictions, which were imposed last week on anyone travelling from Britain because of rising cases of the Delta variant of coronavirus.
Asked about British participants, Tokyo 2020 spokesperson Masa Takaya said: ‘Quarantine for six days is required for some countries and the same treatment will be imposed to athletes and media.’
Tokyo 2020 organisers revealed the third and final ‘playbook’ of rules to control Covid-19
Athletes from most other nations will not face the same restrictions providing they have tested negative twice before they travel and are tested daily in Japan.
However, the third and final ‘playbook’ of Covid rules for the Games was published and included an update which said: ‘Border measures may be strengthened upon entry to Japan in relation to the handling of Covid-19 variants of concern.
‘The Government of Japan may implement additional restrictions for Games participants from designated countries.’
It would not only affect Team GB’s travel plans but also put them at a disadvantage to rival nations if athletes cannot train outside for six days.
The United Kingdom was last week added on to Japan’s red list until at least July 1 because of rising cases of the Delta variant
The current Japanese government policy is in place until at least July 1 but the BOA hope it will be relaxed, with the Games due to start on July 23.
The BOA wrote to organisers last week promising they were doing everything they could to get their entire team fully vaccinated before they depart for Japan, revealing 86 per cent of their delegation had already received at least one jab.
They also pledged to implement their own ‘rigorous testing and isolation programme’ for the final 14 days before they fly, which goes over and above the rules set by Tokyo 2020.
The IOC acknowledged Team GB’s commitment and appeared keen to help athletes avoid quarantine, in a stance which differs from local organisers.
The latest playbook also stressed that athletes face being thrown out of the Olympics if they violate the strict protocols.
Rule breaches would include not wearing masks when required, failing to respect social distancing and refusing to be tested.
Among the sanctions offenders could face are financial penalties, disqualification and permanent exclusion from the Games.