TOKYO: Tokyo will cancel all public Olympics viewing events in an effort to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections, the city governor said on Saturday (Jun 19).
Having postponed the Games for a year because of the pandemic, Japan has already banned overseas spectators – in an Olympics first – while reducing the number of participants, volunteers and guests.
However, officials are forging ahead with hosting the Games from Jul 23.
“We have decided to cancel these live viewing sites that gather people,” Yuriko Koike told reporters, after meeting Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
“On the other hand, we will make greater use of the web to create exciting atmospheres for the Games and to disseminate various cultural information.”
READ: No spectators ‘least risky’ option for Tokyo 2020, experts say
There had been six planned viewing sites, across the Japanese capital.
The announcement came as Koike and Suga prepare to meet Olympics and Paralympics officials Monday for a key consultation during which they are expected to finalise whether to allow domestic spectators inside Games venues.
Politicians and organisers are pushing for some spectators to be allowed.
But Japan’s top infectious disease experts have urged them to consider holding the Games behind closed doors.
Japan has had a comparatively small virus outbreak, with just over 14,000 deaths despite avoiding harsh lockdowns.
The government has recently accelerated vaccination efforts, with just over 6 per cent of the population fully jabbed.
Koike said the metropolis would turn some facilities that were marked for Olympics viewing events into vaccination centres.
BOOKMARK THIS: Our comprehensive coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic and its developments
Download our app or subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak: https://cna.asia/telegram