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Up to 10,000 fans allowed at Tokyo Games venues, but no cheering

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TOKYO Up to 10,000 spectators will be allowed in Tokyo 2020 venues, Olympics organisers said yesterday, a decision that cuts against the recommendation of medical experts who said holding the event without fans was the least risky option.

The announcement ends months of speculation and highlights Japan's determination to push on with the Games and salvage the multibillion-dollar extravaganza amid public opposition and deep concern about a resurgence in infections.

Japan has seen a comparatively small virus outbreak, with nearly 14,500 deaths.

The limit for the Games, scheduled to begin on July 23, "will be set at 50 per cent of venue capacity, up to a maximum of 10,000 people", organisers said in a statement.

But the cheering - for a victory or a plucky underdog - will likely be quelled as shouting will be prohibited. Organisers also said masks will be required and spectators will be urged to travel directly to venues and go straight home.

Numbers could be further reduced after July 12, depending on whether "quasi emergency" Covid-19 measures, due to expire the day before, are extended, or due to any other anti-infection measures in force at the time, according to organisers. - REUTERS