TOKYO (Reuters) – The Tokyo Olympics will provide a model for hosting the Games during a pandemic after rising COVID-19 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.
Athletes will not have to compete in completely empty venues because Olympic officials and journalists will be there, he added.
Organisers on Thursday there would be no spectators in host city Tokyo as a resurgent coronavirus forced 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 the country’s top health adviser, Shigeru Omi, urged people stay home during the games.
“We would ask people to support athletes from home,” Kato said.
(Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by William Mallard)