Spectators from overseas were barred from attending this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The decision was made in a virtual meeting of five parties — the International Olympic Committee, Tokyo Metropolitan Government, International Paralympic Committee, Organizing Committee Tokyo 2020, and the Japanese government.

“Currently, the COVID-19 situation in Japan and many other countries around the world is still very challenging and a number of variant strains have emerged, whilst international travel remains severely restricted globally,” the Tokyo Olympic committee said in a statement.

“Based on the present situation of the pandemic, it is highly unlikely that entry into Japan will be guaranteed this summer for people from overseas.”

The IOC and IPC said they fully respected and accepted the decision.

Thomas Bach, the IOC president, said in a statement that he was truly sorry that fans from around the world won’t be able to watch the Olympics in person.

“We know that this is a great sacrifice for everybody. We have said from the very beginning of this pandemic that it will require sacrifices,” Bach said.

“But we have also said that the first principle is safety. Every decision has to respect the principle of safety first. I know that our Japanese partners and friends did not reach this conclusion lightly,” he added.

Tickets purchased by overseas residents from the organizers will be refunded.

The Tokyo Olympics was postponed last year because of the pandemic and is now set to run from July 23, 2021 to Aug. 8. Arvee Christine R. Biscocho