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Photo: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Athletes at the Tokyo Olympics will hang medals around their own necks in a bid to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said Wednesday.

Why it matters: The announcement comes as Japan attempts to quash a surge in new COVID-19 cases. The country entered a state of emergency last week, and Japanese people have protested the government's decision to move forward with the games.

  • The Olympics will be held without spectators as part of the effort to respond to the coronavirus uptick.

What they're saying: Bach said the move is a "very significant change" in an international media call on Wednesday, AP reports.

  • In traditional ceremonies for the 339 events, IOC members or officials in a sport's governing body present competitors with the medals.
  • This year, "[i]t will be made sure that the person who will put the medal on the tray will do so only with disinfected gloves," Bach said. "They will be presented to the athlete on a tray and then the athlete will take the medal him or herself."
  • No handshakes nor hugs will be permitted during the ceremony, but Bach said an "immersive sound system" will use crowd noise from previous Olympic events and video to re-create the atmosphere.

Go deeper

Aug 9, 2021 - Sports

Chinese authorities plan stricter approach to COVID-19 for Beijing Games

The emblem of Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games is installed at Shijingshan district on Aug. 1. Photo: Vcg/Vcg via Getty Images

Chinese authorities are planning COVID-19 mitigation measures for next year's Beijing Winter Games that are "expected to go far beyond those taken" in Tokyo, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The Tokyo Olympics ended Sunday with over 400 infections reported. While spectators were banned from the Games and other strict protocols were in place, "enforcement was haphazard, and news outlets found many violations," the Times notes.

House passes $768 billion defense spending bill

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The House approved a $768 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the 2022 fiscal year in a bipartisan 316-113 vote on Thursday.

Why it matters: The annual bill, which authorizes Pentagon spending levels and guides policy for the department, would require women to register for the military draft, among other provisions.

8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans’ secret lobbying

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The five Senate Republicans who helped negotiate and draft the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill have been privately courting their Republican colleagues to pass the measure in the House.

Why it matters: House GOP leaders are actively urging their members to oppose the bill. The senators are working to undercut that effort as Monday shapes up as a do-or-die moment for the bipartisan bill.