The 2020 Summer Paralympic Games will take place without spectators due to an alarming rise in cases of COVID-19 in Tokyo and three other host prefectures of Japan, the Kyodo news agency reported on Monday, citing officials in the know.
Local governments of Tokyo, Chiba, Saitama and Shizuoka have reached an agreement to ban all spectators from all venues except for students from local schools participating in a government-backed educational program, according to the report.
The decision will reportedly be further formalized at a meeting attended by International Paralympic Committee chief Andrew Parsons, who arrived in Japan earlier on Monday, as well as chief organizer Seiko Hashimoto, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, and Japanese Olympic minister Tamayo Marukawa.
The Paralympics kick off on August 24 and will run until September 5. Around 4,400 athletes from 160 countries will participate. A Kyodo survey has found that almost 65% of the Japanese do not want any spectators at the event.
Tokyo and five other Japanese prefectures have been under a COVID-19 state of emergency since mid-July due to the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant. On Monday, the state of emergency was extended for another month, with three more prefectures covered by the restrictions.