Tokyo Olympics will be held regardless of COVID-19 emergency: IOC
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is keen on conducting the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as scheduled despite the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Japan. Notably, the IOC vice-president, John Coates, has stated that the Tokyo Games can go ahead even if the host city is under a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is more.
'The safety measures will ensure a safe Olympics'
"All the measures we are undertaking will ensure a safe Games regardless of whether there is a state of emergency or not," Coates, who is in charge of the preparations, told reporters after a virtual meeting with organizers on Friday. He added, "Provided that we can protect the Japanese public, the most important thing is giving athletes a chance to compete."
IOC aims to conduct Olympics despite public opposition
The Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to begin on July 23 after it was postponed last year due to COVID-19 outbreak. Majority of people are still against holding the Games in present circumstances. Recently, a petition to cancel the Games, with more than 3,51,000 signatures, was submitted to the city's governor. However, the Games will go ahead as per the IOC, despite all this.
Conducting the Games will put thousands at risk
Japanese doctors and medical workers have already warned that staging Olympics will put thousands of people at risk. Notably, a recent poll found that 83 percent of the public want the event to be either called off or postponed for a second time.
Athletes expected to be fully vaccinated before the Games begin
Most athletes are expected to be fully vaccinated by the time the Olympics begins. As of now, only 4.1 percent of Japan's population has received at least one jab. Additionally, only 30 percent of medical workers in Tokyo are fully protected. Seiko Hashimoto, the president of Tokyo 2020, said nearly 230 doctors and 310 nurses would be needed each day during the event.
The finish line is within touching distance: Coates
It is understood that the number of officials, journalists and other staff, due to arrive in Tokyo, has been cut from 1,80,000 to 78,000. "I can say it's now clearer than ever these Games would be safe for everyone participating and safe for the people of Japan," Coates added. "After eight years of hard work and planning, the finish line is within touching distance."
Tokyo still in state of emergency
Tokyo and nine other prefectures in Japan are still under a state of emergency. On Sunday, similar restrictions will go into effect in Okinawa prefecture, which reported a record number of infections this week. On Friday, Shigeru Omi, who heads the government's coronavirus advisory panel, stated that the organizers must consider the impact the Games could have on Japan's medical infrastructure.
The preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Games have been impacted
The disruptions to the torch relay have impacted the preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Games. Meanwhile, the Canadian swimming team, on Friday, became the latest delegation to pull out of a pre-Olympics training camp with COVID-19 scare. The plans for nearly 50 training camps have also been scrapped. Meanwhile, several Japanese towns, who were set to host athletes, have also stepped back.