An arbitration postponed to Greek calendars. The organizers of the Tokyo Olympics (Olympics) have postponed their decision on the presence or not of local spectators to June, a further symbol of the uncertainty that continues to accompany the preparation of these Games, which are to be held on July 23. to August 8, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The organizers also announced that the athletes participating in the Olympics would be tested daily, while the initial plan provided for tests every four days.
The public coming from abroad is already banned because of the pandemic. In addition, Tokyo and three other Japanese departments have since Sunday been placed under a third state of emergency in the face of the increase in Covid-19 cases, which notably requires that sporting events take place behind closed doors.
An “overwhelmed hospital system”
Until then, various events, such as baseball or football matches and a figure skating tournament, had however been held in front of a masked audience and refraining from cheering the athletes. If spectators were allowed to attend the Olympics, similar rules would be implemented, organizers have already announced, giving Tokyo 2021 an atmosphere far from the usual Olympic celebrations.
Japan, relatively less affected by the coronavirus than many other countries, with some 10,000 officially recorded deaths since January 2020, is currently experiencing a sharp increase in cases in several departments.
Senior government medical adviser Shigeru Omi ruled on Wednesday that he was “Time to discuss the Olympics”, in view of the “Infection situation” and “Overwhelmed hospital system”.
Despite the situation, the organizers continue to assert that the Olympics will be able to take place. “The question is how to organize safe Games”, repeated Wednesday the president of the organization of the Games, Seiko Hashimoto. Having grandstands full of spectators at the next Games will probably be ” very difficult “, she conceded. “Our goal is always to have full sites, but in view of the measures necessary to fight against the virus, we must not overload the medical services”, she clarified.
A reluctant population
In an attempt to allay the concerns of the Japanese population, largely in favor of a further postponement or cancellation, the organization has published “manuals” (playbooks) listing strict anti-virus measures, a new version of which was due to be presented later today. These manuals are “A sign of solidarity and respect on the part of the Olympic community towards our Japanese hosts”, judged Wednesday the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach.
The organizers of the Olympics are trying to persuade the public that the event can be held safely despite the pandemic, but the Japanese are mostly opposed to it because of the health risks, according to several polls carried out in recent months.