Tokyo posts daily virus record as pro sport starts allowing 5,000 fans

11-Jul-2020 Intellasia | KyodoNews | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Tokyo reported a new single-day record of 243 coronavirus infections Friday, the same day that Japan started allowing up to 5,000 people into sporting and other events.

Nippon Professional Baseball teams and soccer’s J-League clubs are among the first beneficiaries of the government raising the attendance limit from 1,000.

Friday’s six-match baseball schedule sees Tokyo rivals the Yomiuri Giants, the Central League leaders, face the Yakult Swallows, while Fagiano Okayama and Giravanz Kitakyushu square up in a J-League second-division clash. J-League first-division fans will get a chance to see their favourite clubs in action on the weekend.

The move comes as coronavirus infections are on the rise again in Japan, with Friday’s tally in Tokyo topping the capital’s previous record of 224 set on Thursday.

The sudden spike has left many people wary of a second wave of infections. The nationwide total stands above 20,700, excluding 712 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, quarantined near Tokyo in February.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said Thursday the rising number of cases was a result of increased testing.

Economic revitalisation minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, also in charge of the response to coronavirus, stressed Japan’s medical system is not under the same strain as before, saying the situation is “different from when the state of emergency was declared in April.”

The government has urged sports event organisers to help prevent the spread of the virus when welcoming thousands of fans back into stadiums, by ventilating venues and compiling a list of everyone attending.

NPB and J-League teams will also check the temperatures of spectators and require them to wear masks. Clubs are also asking fans to refrain from traditional cheering practices thought to increase the risk of infection.

It is planned to increase the number of fans attending to half-capacity from August 1, depending on the spread of infections.

The decision will be left up to each club. The Nippon Ham Fighters, in NPB’s Pacific League, will retain the 5,000 limit for the home game against the Orix Buffaloes at Sapporo Dome, on August 1.

The 2020 NPB season began behind closed doors on June 19 after a three-month delay. The J-League first division resumed last week following a roughly four-month hiatus, after J2 had restarted and J3 began on June 27.


Category: Japan

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