LATEST NEWS: Foreign fans are BANNED from the Olympics – Tokyo 2020 bosses confirm they will not allow spectators to travel to Japan as ticket holders receive refunds for fear of spreading new variants
- Foreign fans will not be able to attend the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
- Olympic and Paralympic tickets purchased by foreign residents will be refunded.
- Move is an unprecedented decision that will further reduce the Olympics
- When the decision was made to postpone the Games last year, officials said the delay would allow them to hold the event as proof of ‘triumph over the virus’.
- But instead, the Games are shaping up to be a primarily television event.
Team GB athletes will not have the support of their own fans and families at this summer’s Olympics after foreign spectators were banned from attending the Tokyo Games.
Organizers finally made the long-awaited decision to ban foreign fans on Saturday because it was ‘highly unlikely’ that entry to Japan could be guaranteed for visitors amid the current ‘very challenging’ Covid-19 situation.
The president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, said he was “really sorry”, but that “the first principle is safety.”
The delayed Tokyo Olympics will go ahead this summer but without foreign spectators
Olympic and Paralympic tickets purchased by foreign residents will be refunded.
It was understood that around one million tickets were sold to viewers outside of Japan, and about 3,000 are expected to travel from Great Britain.
They will now be offered refunds in what is a major financial blow to the organizing committee, which was expecting revenue of £ 577 million from total ticket sales.
Organizers remain confident that domestic spectators will be able to attend the Olympic and Paralympic Games, but a decision on how many will be able to enter each venue will not be made until next month.
Japan’s Covid vaccination program has gotten off to a slow start for the past four weeks
Olympic Minister Tamayo Marukawa said the decisions made on Saturday would be key to ‘alleviating anxiety about the Games inside and outside of Japan.
SLOW KICKBACK OF VACCINES IN JAPAN
Japan’s coronavirus vaccination program has been hampered by a lack of supply and a shortage of special syringes needed to inject the population.
As of March 5, just under 46,500 doses had been administered to front-line medical workers as of last Friday.
At the current rate, it would take 126 years to vaccinate Japan’s 126 million population. However, the supply is expected to increase in the coming months.
Unlike many other countries, Japan requires that clinical trials of new drugs, including vaccines, be conducted with Japanese patients, slowing down the approval process.
So far, only the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech has been approved. Clinical trials have been conducted in Japan for the AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines and the vaccines are awaiting regulatory approval.
According to The Japan Times, inoculation for older residents with vaccination tickets is expected to begin on April 12.
The country will receive 100 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine between May and June, while the Moderna vaccine is also expected to be approved around this time.
A Tokyo 2020 statement read: “ Currently, the Covid-19 situation in Japan and many other countries around the world remains very challenging and several variant strains have emerged, while international travel remains severely restricted globally.
“Given the current pandemic situation, it is highly unlikely that entry into Japan will be guaranteed this summer for people from abroad.
“ To give clarity to ticket holders living abroad and to allow them to adjust their travel plans at this stage, parties on the Japanese side have concluded that they will not be able to enter Japan at the time of the Olympics. and Paralympics.
“This conclusion will further contribute to ensuring safe and secure Games for all participants and the Japanese public.”
The President of the International Olympic Committee, Bach, added: ‘We share the disappointment of all the enthusiastic Olympic fans around the world and of course the families and friends of the athletes, who were planning to attend the Games.
‘For this, I am very sorry. We know that this is a great sacrifice for everyone. We have said since the beginning of this pandemic that it will require sacrifices.
But we have also said that the first principle is security. Every decision must first respect the principle of safety. I know that our Japanese partners and friends did not come to this conclusion lightly. “
A spokesperson for the British Olympic Association said: “This is very sad news, not only for British fans but in particular for the athletes’ family and friends. While it is a very disappointing situation, it underlines the determination of the organizers to host a safe and secure Olympic Games.
We are now awaiting detailed clarification from the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee on various points, including details of restrictions, process and timing of refunds for international ticket holders and will be in contact with fans to keep them updated. We will communicate promptly and clearly as information becomes available. “
There is still hope that Japanese residents will be able to attend the Games this summer.
The Olympic Rings are located in front of the Japan Olympic venue and the new National Stadium.