The Tokyo Olympics will provide a model for hosting the Games during a pandemic after rising infections forced organisers to ban spectators at most events, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said on Sunday.
“This will be the first Olympics held during a pandemic, and Tokyo will provide a model for how that is done,” Muto said on a political debate program aired by public broadcaster NHK.
COVID-19 has infected more than 187 million people and killed more than 4 million worldwide.
The upcoming international multi-sport event is scheduled to be held from 23 July to 8 August 2021 in Tokyo.
Athletes will not have to compete in completely empty venues because Olympic officials and journalists will be there, he said.
There would be no spectators in host city Tokyo as a resurgent coronavirus forced country’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to declare a state of emergency in the capital that will run throughout the Games. Most events outside Tokyo will also take place without spectators.
Speaking on the same program as Muto, chief cabinet secretary Katsunobu Kato and Japan’s top health adviser, Shigeru Omi, urged people stay home during the games.
“We would ask people to support athletes from home,” Kato said.