2021 Olympics still on despite rising coronavirus fears

Even with the rising fear that the coronavirus pandemic will stretch into the summer, the 2021 Tokyo Olympics is still on. That’s according to Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. He insisted that the “Games will be held this summer” and promised they will be “safe and secure”. 

The Olympics is slated to begin on July 23, with the Paralympics following a month later. 

The fears were triggered by Japan’s increasing coronavirus numbers. On Friday, the country recorded 783 new coronavirus infection. Japan has recorded a total of 239,041 coronavirus cases and 3,337 deaths during the pandemic, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

And local and government officials have now warned that a state of emergency might be needed to tackle the spread of the disease.

Japan has already banned all non-resident foreigners from entering the country until January 31. A travel exemption for elite athletes and coaches has also been scrapped for countries with the new Covid variant, such as the United Kingdom.

All this while Japan is insisting that the Games will take place as planned in the summer in front of spectators, including overseas visitors.

But it emerged this week that athletes may face a 14-day quarantine period when they arrive in the country in July — something which the International Olympic Committee had previously ruled out.