Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga may have been counting on the Tokyo Olympics to buoy public sentiment before a general election this year. Instead, the games could turn into his biggest liability because of a recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

Olympic organizers agreed Thursday to ban spectators at venues in and around the capital after the government decided to declare a fresh state of emergency through Aug. 22.

The Olympics, due to begin July 23, were already going to be held under extraordinary circumstances — they were postponed by one year due to the coronavirus pandemic, parts of the nationwide torch relay have been taken off public roads, and athletes and staff are being subject to rigorous quarantine and testing rules.