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Surge in Covid-19 cases casts cloud over Tokyo Olympics

Surge in Covid-19 cases casts cloud over Tokyo Olympics

The fate of the postponed Tokyo Olympics has come under a cloud again with a sudden surge in coronavirus cases forcing Japan to declare a second state of emergency for metropolitan areas.

With less than 200 days left for the scheduled opening ceremony, doubts have arisen again on whether even a truncated version of the Olympics can be held in Tokyo. Japan has been recording around 5,000 fresh cases of coronavirus daily in recent days at a time when the pandemic has taken a turn for the worse in most countries and a new more virulent strain has surfaced in UK and South Africa.

The organizers have said the 2020 Olympics will be cancelled if they can’t go on as scheduled.

However, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said he was determined to hold the games even as he announced the new restrictions to control the pandemic.

Japan’s top virus adviser Shigeru Omi has said lifting the state of emergency on time will be almost impossible, and the restrictions could continue until March or April. This would leave little space to take a decision on scheduling the games.

A need for extensive testing and quarantine of participants would add to the unprecedented logistical effort of rearranging events and venues. The state of emergency will also complicate the arrival of participants, in addition to unresolved questions of whether to allow local and overseas fans..