Sorry no olympics for you

Illustration for the article titled Prepare for a future where you will not attend this year's Olympics

Photo: Du Xiaoyi (fake images)

If you were planning to travel to Japan to attend the Olympics, love the optimism! But most likely their plans have been screwed up because, in fact, we are still in a global pandemic. While the final decision has not yet been announced, the Mainichi newspaper reported today that a source close to the Japanese government confirmed that foreign spectators will not be allowed to attend.

At a press conference, the president of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, Seiko Hashimoto told reporters that the decision will be announced on March 25, but Hashimoto also prepared potential foreign visitors for a no. “If the situation is difficult and would concern consumers,” Hashimoto said (according to the Associated Press translation), “that is a situation we must prevent from happening.” The Olympic Games begin on July 23 and the Paralympics begin on August 24. The games have already been postponed since last summer due, again, to the global pandemic.

That Japan allowed a massive influx of foreign travelers would probably never happen: Last month, the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee jointly published a handful of “playbooks” for international federations, members of the media and athletes, but not yet tourists. Request a guide for federations that spectators refrain from singing or cheering. “Physical interactions” must be kept to a minimum, and visitors must follow rigorous testing and contact tracing rules.

Japan has suffered a record increase during winter, which researchers have Linked to a tourism campaign. The country has been under a months state of emergency, that government officials seems likely spread through Tokyo.

The Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee was not immediately available for comment.

The Olympics, by and large, are an attempt to boost tourism at substantial cost to local governments and taxpayers, making it an inherently tricky prospect for Japan in the face of huge fluctuations in COVID case numbers. At the beginning of December, Nikkei reported that the government anticipated a massive wave of international visitors, and the New York Times has reported that more than two million tickets have been reserved for international attendees. During the January surge, a rumor circulated that the Olympics would be canceled entirely, but this turned out false.

And the global launch of the vaccine still has a long way to go. According to Johns Hopkins, only about 0.73% of the world’s population has been vaccinated, although the data on the launch remains incomplete and often those numbers do not reflect the number of people who have received both doses.. While the wealthiest countries have a disproportionate supply of vaccines, Gibraltar, with the highest confirmed percentage of fully vaccinated people, has still only administered full doses to around 40% of its population. The US rate is just below 8%.


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