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Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony ‘will be open to VIPs only with NO spectators due to Covid’ 

Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony ‘will be open to VIPs only with NO spectators due to Covid’

The Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony will be open to VIPs only with no ordinary spectators allowed because of rising Covid cases, according to a report. 

International Olympic Committee (IOC) representatives, foreign dignitaries and sponsors will be allowed into the National Stadium to watch the July 23 ceremony, according to Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

But fans will be locked out because there are growing concerns over rising coronavirus cases in the Japanese capital. The seven day average in Tokyo is at around 580 Covid cases per day – a 92 per cent increase on mid-June. 

International Olympic Committee (IOC) representatives, foreign dignitaries, sponsors and others connected to the Games will be allowed into the National Stadium (pictured) to watch the July 23 ceremony

Organisers are working to whittle down the expected 10,000 ‘Olympic family’ members to a level the Japanese public would find acceptable, the report said.

‘Some people in government are concerned that the public won’t accept them being given special treatment,’ it said.

‘They’d like the number of people attending to be reduced to the hundreds.’

Games organisers last month set a limit of 10,000 domestic fans, or half of each venue’s capacity. Overseas fans have already been barred.

But a rise in infections has forced a rethink, with Games president Seiko Hashimoto recently warning that a closed-door Olympics remains an option.

The government is this week expected to extend anti-virus measures in Tokyo and elsewhere, with a decision on Olympic fans to follow.

Organisers were considering banning spectators from events in larger venues and in the evening, said the newspaper.

Members of the U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team practice at a training center, ahead of the Tokyo Olympics

Members of the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team practice at a training center, ahead of the Tokyo Olympics

The announcement of the results of a ticket lottery for oversubscribed events has been pushed back to Saturday – less than two weeks before the opening ceremony.

Japan’s Covid-19 outbreak has not been as severe as in some countries, with around 14,800 deaths, but experts say another wave could stretch medical services as the Olympics begin.

The Olympic torch is due to arrive in Tokyo on Friday, but there will be no relay on public roads in the capital this weekend, organisers said, with short fan-free ceremonies planned instead.

Several legs of the torch relay, which began in March, have been taken away from public roads to prevent crowds from gathering.

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