Several schools pull out of Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics spectator programme amid COVID-19 fears

Several schools in Japan have pulled out of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics spectator programme amid coronavirus fears. This comes after thousands of volunteers have also withdrawn themselves from the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics over the same.

The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics were originally scheduled for 2020 but had to be postponed due to the global COVID-19 outbreak. The Tokyo Olympics is just a few days away, starting on July 23, whereas the Paralympic Games start on August 24.

Around 320 elementary and junior high school students in the Kanagawa Prefecture, Nakai, were scheduled to watch football and baseball matches in Yokohama. However, based on the views of school principals, the town’s board of education decided to put out of Tokyo Olympics.

“We had planned to travel by train, but the risk of infection is high,” said Tetsuya Takahashi, chief of the town’s education division.

Number of Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics ticket requests declined drastically

The spectator programme provides Olympics tickets to schools and local governments at a much-discounted price of 2,020 yen. According to the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics organizing committee, around 1.28 million purchase requests were submitted as of January 2020.

The numbers have declined drastically, all thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and its high infection rates. There was a decline in the number of tickets from Kawagoe in Saitama Prefecture as well.

Compared to the original request of 5,558 tickets, the number had fallen by more than 50 percent to around 2,400 as of last week. Kawagoe will mainly host football and golf matches.

With so much uncertainty ahead of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, things are a bit up in the air. The Yokohama Board of Education has also stated that they are reconfirming if 323 schools are willing to go ahead with the plans.

Although foreign spectators have been banned from the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics a long time before, the decision on the local crowds is yet to be made. A decision is likely to come up at the end of the month. Plans for live screenings of the games have also come under severe scrutiny amid virus fears.

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