No Foreign Fans Allowed At Olympics
Olympic officials haven't yet announced how many Japanese spectators will be allowed, either. Meanwhile, questions linger over the torch relay and how to keep volunteers safe from covid.
Tokyo Olympics To Go Ahead This Summer — But Without Foreign Spectators, National News Agency Says
Japan has decided to bar foreign spectators from this summer's Tokyo Olympics, the Kyodo news agency said on Tuesday, citing government officials. The decision, which hadn't been publicly confirmed by Japanese officials, comes after weeks of mounting pressure from a public worried about visitors who could carry the coronavirus into the country, including some highly-contagious new variants. There was no immediate word on how many Japanese fans would be permitted to enjoy the Summer Games in person, but Kyodo, which often gets news directly from government officials before it is formally announced, said no spectators would be admitted from abroad. (Reals, 3/9)
Torch Relay Among Final Hurdles For Postponed Tokyo Olympics
The Olympic torch relay is yet another hurdle for the postponed Tokyo Games. It kicks off in two weeks from northeastern Japan, and any stumble could sow more doubts about the risk of holding the Olympics in a pandemic. A year ago, the Olympics were postponed just as the relay began. The start will again be from Fukushima prefecture, the center 10 years ago of the devastating earthquake, tsunami and meltdown of three nuclear reactors. At least 18,000 people died. (Wade, 3/10)
The Wall Street Journal:
A Tokyo Olympics Mystery: What Happens With 80,000 Volunteers During A Pandemic?
The postponed Tokyo Olympics scheduled to start July 23 are slated to involve about 80,000 volunteers, a spokesperson for the organizing committee confirmed. Organizers have said almost nothing, however, about how they will safely incorporate those volunteers into Olympic functions during the pandemic. ... Tokyo Games organizers have released detailed “playbooks” on how they plan to mitigate Covid-19 spread among athletes, sports officials and broadcasters—but have issued no playbook for volunteers, who traditionally interact with all of those groups. There are no plans to publish a Covid playbook for Games volunteers, a Tokyo Olympics spokesperson said. (Bachman, 3/4)
And in news about the 2022 Beijing Winter Games —
2022 Olympics: China Won't Reach COVID-19 Herd Immunity Before Hosting Beijing Games
China will not reach herd immunity until mid-2022, months after Beijing plans to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, China’s top health official said Saturday. George Gao, the director of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, estimated to Chinese media on Saturday that 70% to 80% of China’s 1.6 billion citizens would need to get vaccinated for the country to reach herd immunity. He said that China’s COVID-19 vaccine coverage is low and that the country is likely to reach herd immunity in the middle of 2022 at the earliest. (McGregor, 3/8)