TOKYO (AP) — All fans will be barred from the Paralympics because of the coronavirus pandemic just as they were from the recently completed Tokyo Olympics.
The Paralympics open on Aug. 24 with about 4,400 athletes. That is a far smaller event than the Olympics with 11,000 athletes.
However, the Paralympics come as new infections accelerate in Tokyo that may expose a population that is more vulnerable to COVID-19.
New infections in Tokyo tripled during the 17 days of the Olympics. Medical experts say the surge was not directly linked to the Tokyo Games, but they suggested an indirect effect.
In a joint statement, Paralympic and Japanese officials cited the emergency declarations issued in Tokyo and the surrounding area as the reason for “more stringent measures,” including the lack of spectators.
“We very much regret that this situation has impacted the Paralympic Games, following the Olympic Games, and we sincerely apologize to all ticket buyers who were looking forward to watching the Games at the venues,” officials wrote in their statement. “We hope that you understand that these measures are unavoidable and being implemented in order to prevent the spread of infection. Everyone is encouraged to watch the Games at home.”
Officials say they will hold a four-party meeting in the event of any major changes in the “infection situation” in the Tokyo area.