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Olympics without fans: Japan to declare COVID-19 emergency for Tokyo

Japan is set to declare a state of emergency for Tokyo that will run through its hosting of the Olympics to try to contain a new wave of coronavirus infections, a key minister said on Thursday, as organizers consider banning all spectators from the Games.

The move is the latest blow to the troubled Olympics, already once delayed because of the pandemic and plagued by a series of setbacks, including massive budget overruns.

Medical experts have said for weeks that having no spectators at the Games would be the least risky option amid widespread public concern that the influx of thousands of athletes and officials will fuel a fresh wave of infections.

Organizers have already banned overseas spectators and have for now set a cap on domestic viewers at 50% of capacity, up to 10,000 people. Talks to finalize the restrictions on the spectators are expected either on Thursday or on Friday.