The Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony is likely to be attended by less than 1000 VIPs and foreign dignitaries in person, a sharp reduction from the previously decided figure of 10,000 amid rise in COVID-19 cases here, the local media reported on Thursday. ‘Kyodo News’, quoting sources, reported that the organisers have been attempting to cut the number of people physically attending the ceremony at the National Stadium on July 23.
The Games will open in a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic even as efforts are being made to ensure that Japan’s Emperor Naruhito attends the ceremony to declare the event open. U.S. first lady Jill Biden is also expected to be among the international guests for the ceremony.
On Wednesday, Tokyo reported its highest number of new COVID-19 cases in almost six months with 1,149 new infections coming to light. It was the highest one-day total for the city since January 22.
The National Stadium can accommodate 68,000 people but the ceremony will be limited to Games’ guests, including International Olympic Committee representatives and foreign dignitaries. The Games will be held without spectators in Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama.
Under the new state of emergency, restaurants and bars have been told to not serve alcohol.