The Tokyo Olympics has already been subject to numerous setbacks due to the COVID-19 coronavirus global pandemic. After initially being cancelled in 2020, there were many fears the games would once again be cancelled in 2021 and may be postponed indefinitely. For those sports enthusiasts whose careers can be made or broken by the games, as well as the thousands of audience members who enjoy watching on screen and in person, the future of the games has been unclear.
Government officials in Japan have for a long time however declared that the games would not be fully cancelled, but had been strategizing as much as they could how to make the games safe during the coronavirus pandemic. While social distancing measures amongst the audience will aim to help reduce the risk of transmission during the games, the predicament of how and if it was morally ethical to fly sportspeople and audience members internationally during this time of global crises remained.
The problem has finally however now seen some solutions offered. Japanese officials for the games released a statement last week that decided overseas spectators would not be invited to the games this year as a COVID-19 restriction to prevent further outbreaks of the disease in Japan, and the potential for new mutant strains to arrive in the country or manifest.
Athletes from around the world will still travel to Japan to take place in the games, but they will be subject to strict testing and lockdown measures before, during and after the event. This is the government’s best strategy for holding the games whilst keeping as many people safe as possible from the virus. The same rules and restrictions will also be applied for the following Paralympic games.
The Olympics is set to be held from Friday 23rd July to Sunday 8th August 2021, with the Paralympics held shortly after from Tuesday 24th August to Sunday 5th September 2021.