The Japanese government has extended the state of emergency for Tokyo and eight other prefectures through to 20 June in an effort to contain the coronavirus.
The state of emergency had been set to end on Monday 31 May. It will now run until at least 20 June, less than five weeks before the Tokyo Game’s Opening Ceremony set for 23 July 2021.
The minister in charge of the coronavirus response, said that the government will speed up the vaccine rollout in a bid to complete the inoculation of senior citizens as soon as possible. Around 400,000 vaccinations were now taking place each day with 2.4 per cent of the population fully vaccinated.
With 31,308 cases in the last seven days, Japan has seen a 21% drop in new cases, with deaths also dropping 15% to 775 death in the last seven days.
The president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, told athletes on Thursday to come to Tokyo with confidence.
Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko has suggested that it would be difficult to further postpone the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games . . . Thus very much a now or never decision is required.
Competitors are already facing intense regulation, with a third version of the Tokyo Games Playbook for athletes and officials, which outline the rules participants at the Games must adhere to, expected early in June.
For the sailing competitors Tokyo pre-events have now been cancelled and the sailing area closed until nearer to the first races on 25 July to restrict mixing.
It will be very much an . . . Arrive, Compete and Leave Games.
The IOC has also announced that late team changes have been sanctioned where athletes fail the regular coronavirus testing before their event, although this would prove difficult to carry out in reality in the timescales involved.