The countdown has begun for the Tokyo Olympics. Time is running out and the opening of the Games, scheduled for 23 July, is approaching, even if there are organizational difficulties due to Covid. Although the global situation has improved from a year ago when the Olympics were postponed for the first time, Japan is still struggling to contain the fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Japanese government has decided to extend the state of emergency until June 20. The current provision in force in 9 prefectures, including the capital itself and the city of Osaka, was expected to end on May 31. “The infection curve is decreasing in some areas but on a general level the situation remains unpredictable,” Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told the press. In addition to Tokyo, where the decline in Covid infections remains “too low”, according to health authorities, the restrictions will affect 8 other prefectures, from the region in the far north of Hokkaido, to the island of Okinawa in the south of the archipelago.
Therefore, the organizers are constantly struggling with the revision of the organizational protocol, forced to impose very strict rules. Tokyo 2020 President Hashimoto said on Tuesday that media following the Olympic Games will be closely monitored to ensure they do not leave pre-registered areas such as hotels and sports facilities.
For fears that the sporting event could lead to new infections, overloading medical facilities, foreign spectators have been banned, and organizers are expected to make a decision later this month on domestic spectators. The government is considering requiring participants to show negative Covid test results, or a certificate stating that they have been vaccinated, the media said. Other possible measures include a ban on cheering loudly or giving high five.
Meanwhile, ten thousand volunteers out of 80 thousand committed to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo have decided to give up. The Japanese organizing committee explained that: “One of the reasons is the concern about the coronavirus,” Toshiro Muto, CEO of the organizing committee, told reporters.
And the president of Coni, Giovanni Malagò, spoke to Agora on Rai3, on the Games he said: «Will the Japanese be able to postpone the games? It is an economic fact, of prestige and of what has been neglected ». “The Japanese have a strange culture of no vax people, so they protected themselves by trying not to let people in – added the number one of Italian sport – For the Games there are 140/150 thousand accredited people, but we will all be in a big bubble “.
The event should have been held in March 2020, when Japan had 865 active cases, while in the world there were 385,000. The decision to postpone the event was also motivated by the idea (or perhaps the hope) that in 2021 we would find ourselves in a more controlled situation. After 14 months, active cases have risen to 70,000 and Japan remains in a state of health emergency. Worldwide, cases of active infection have risen to about 19 million. Meanwhile, the problem of Covid variants has also been added.