Spectators barred from Paralympic venues as Japan experiences fresh wave of COVID-19 infections

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By Ali Iveson
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympics will for the most part be held without spectators, organisers have confirmed.

All events in Tokyo and other prefectures under a state of emergency will be closed to the public, as was the case with the Olympic Games.

Japan’s capital has been under a state of emergency since July 12, and with case numbers continuing to rise it is unlikely to be withdrawn in the short-term future.

On Friday (August 13) Tokyo reported a record 5,773 new infections, with yesterday’s figure 4,295.

More than 3,700 people in Tokyo have been hospitalised with coronavirus and 251 were experiencing severe symptoms, according to yesterday’s figures, the most recent to be published.

Events in neighbouring prefectures Saitama and Chiba will be spectator-free, and cycling competitions are also set to take place without fans present – unlike at the Olympics

Cycling competition will be in Izu in the Shizuoka prefecture, which has requested it be added to the state of emergency.

Spectators will therefore be banned in Izu, Games organisers have decided.

The Japanese public has also been asked not to gather on roadsides to watch road events.

A limited number of students from local schools will be allowed to attend some competitions, however, as part of a programme designed to foster a more inclusive society.

International Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons arrived in Japan today, after which he took part in a four-party meeting where the ban on spectators was confirmed.

Tokyo 2020 chief executive Seiko Hashimoto, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and Japan’s Olympics Minister Tamayo Marukawa were all involved in the meeting.

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