According to rumours released on Wednesday, the Japanese government plans to declare a viral state of emergency in Tokyo during the Olympics, preventing spectators from entering sites.
Following an increase in instances less than three weeks before the Games, the emergency measures — which are less severe than a blanket lockdown — will be in effect until August 22, according to multiple Japanese media reports.
“The government decided to declare the fourth state of emergency for Tokyo and communicated the decision to the ruling parties,” public broadcaster NHK said.
The pandemic-affected 2020 Olympics will be held under rigorous anti-infection guidelines, with international spectators already barred.
Last month, organisers imposed a limit of 10,000 fans, or half the capacity of each arena, but have since warned that a fully closed-door Games is still an option as the virus situation worsens.
With about 14,800 deaths, Japan’s Covid-19 outbreak was not as serious as in some other nations, but experts believe another wave could strain medical facilities as the Games begin.
11,000 Olympic athletes from about 200 countries are expected to compete, and they have already begun arriving in Japan.