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Tokyo Olympics Will Prohibit All Spectators Amid COVID-19 Surge

Tokyo Olympics NBC

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshide Suga announced Thursday that the pandemic-delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics will take place under a coronavirus state of emergency. As a result, spectators will be barred from the Games, which are set to take place from Friday, July 23 through Sunday, Aug. 8.

“Taking into consideration the effect of coronavirus variants and not to let the infections spread again to the rest of the nation, we need to strengthen our countermeasures,” Suga said, according to the BBC.

Added Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto: “It is regrettable that we are delivering the Games in a very limited format, facing the spread of coronavirus infections. I am sorry to those who purchased tickets and everyone in local areas.”

International fans were already banned from attending the Tokyo Games several months ago. This latest measure will clear venues — indoor and outdoor — of any audience whatsoever.

Japan’s state of emergency will remain in effect from July 12 through Aug. 22. The declaration comes as the nation faces a new wave of coronavirus infections; the death toll is just under 15,000 as of press time.

NBC‘s coverage of the Tokyo Olympics commences July 23 with the network’s first-ever live morning broadcast of an opening ceremony, which begins at 6:55 am ET/3:55 am PT. The network’s primetime coverage will begin that evening at 7:30 pm, with a repackaged encore of the Opening Ceremony, Parade of Nations and all. (For a complete schedule, click here.)

As previously reported, NBC was forced to pull new reality competition Ultimate Slip ‘N Slide — which was set to follow the Tokyo Closing Ceremony — from its schedule, weeks after a diarrhea outbreak shut down production.