TOKYO — Japan is set to place Tokyo under a state of emergency that would last through the Olympics, fearing an ongoing COVID-19 surge will multiply during the Games.
At a meeting with experts Thursday morning, government officials proposed a plan to issue a state of emergency in Tokyo from next Monday to Aug. 22. The Summer Olympics, already delayed a year by the pandemic, begin July 23 and close Aug. 8.
The Games already will take place without foreign spectators, but the planned six-week state of emergency likely ends chances of a local audience. A decision about fans is expected later Thursday when local organizers meet with the International Olympic Committee and other representatives.
Tokyo is currently under less-stringent measures that focus on shortened hours for bars and restaurants but have proven less effective at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is to formally announce the emergency plans later Thursday, hours after IOC President Thomas Bach was to land in Tokyo. Bach must self-isolate for three days in the IOC’s five-star hotel in the Japanese capital before heading to Hiroshima, where heavy rain is threatening flooding.