As authorities are expected to declare a state of emergency in Tokyo to contain rising COVID cases in the capital city, Japan is considering banning all spectators from this year’s Olympics just 16 days prior to the Games’ commencement, according to Reuters.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said his government will announce new protocol, which will determine whether or not spectators will be able to attend the Olympics, on Thursday.
According to the outlet, medical experts have advised that banning spectators from the Games would pose the least risk while public concern rises surrounding the Games’ potential for fueling a surge of COVID cases.
The event’s organizers have already prohibited foreign spectators from attending and limited domestic attendance to 50 percent capacity, which equates to roughly 10,000 people, to contain the virus.
Japanese authorities have struggled to halt a sudden rise in new cases that are predominantly surging in and around Tokyo, which reported 920 new infections on Wednesday, the highest the area has seen since May 13.
The Tokyo Olympics organizing committee confirmed that spectator restrictions will adhere to the the measures set in place by Japan’s COVID state of emergency.
The Games are scheduled to begin on July 23 and conclude on August 8.