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The Olympics may be going ahead, but much of the celebration and connection that normally makes hosting the games so memorable is being stripped away as almost 50 cities have lost their role as hosts or training camp bases, Reuters reports.

More than 70% of those were canceled by visiting delegations fearful of COVID-19 risks and restrictions. The biggest of these was the U.S. track and field team, which canceled its camp in Chiba earlier this month.

As the games retreat into a Tokyo bubble, Paul de Vries argues that there are few cities better suited to the task, given Japan’s policy toward the pandemic has been one of coexistence, not eradication.

Japan’s Olympic backlash grows as fourth wave worsens | CBC NEWS: THE NATIONAL
Japan’s Olympic backlash grows as fourth wave worsens | CBC NEWS: THE NATIONAL

While Japan’s rollout is lagging, it now appears that most people within the Olympic bubble will be vaccinated in time for the games. The International Olympic Committee is expected to provide COVID-19 vaccines for about 20,000 people in Japan who are set to compete in or work at the spectacle, Kyodo reports.

During the games, staff and workers will be required to regularly self-collect saliva samples for COVID-19 testing, sources say, while competitors will be tested in the athletes’ village.

Of course, this is all assuming the games go ahead. Watch this space for more on that later this week, no doubt.

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