Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics agreed Thursday to ban spectators from the Games after Japan declared a state of emergency to combat surging COVID-19 cases in the capital.

The move comes just two weeks before the opening Games on July 23.

Seiko Hashimoto, president of the Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee, said it was “regrettable” that the sporting event would be held without crowds.

She offered her apologies to those who had already bought tickets to the Games.

Experts have called on the Games for weeks to prohibit fans, saying it was the least risky option to prevent a new wave of infections.

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