Japan’s Olympic Games will proceed without spectators due to a surge in new Covid cases, Olympics Minister Tamayo Marukawa announced today. A state of emergency had already been declared in Tokyo and is expected to continue throughout the Games.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told reporters that the state of emergency will run at least until Aug. 22 (the Games run July 23 through 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,” the prime minister said.

According to the BBC, Japan’s most recent wave of infections began in April, and the country has experienced a total death toll of around 14,900.

NBCUniversal will air programming from the 2021 Olympic Games across its broadcast, cable and digital properties.

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