Olympic organizers announced Thursday that they would not allow fans to attend most venues at the Games after a state of emergency was declared in Tokyo in response to a recent COVID case surge stemming from the virus’s Delta variant.
The notice marked a policy reversal from last month, when Olympic officials said domestic spectators would be permitted despite concerns that the event could trigger a massive disease outbreak, the New York Times reported.
Olympic organizers congregated for an emergency meeting Thursday to discuss a game plan for how to conduct the already-delayed Games given the spike in the region.
During a press briefing Thursday, Japan prime minister Yoshihide Suga recognized the emerging threat posed by the spread of the new variant but promised that the Olympic Games would be a testament to the world’s resilience and strength in combating and recovering from the pandemic.
“I want to transmit to them a message from Tokyo about overcoming hardship with effort and wisdom,” Suga said.
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