Tokyo, April 14 2021: Just as Tokyo marks a 100 days left before the Olympics start on the 23rd of July, a hike in corona virus n cases in Tokyo and other elsewhere, have prompted health experts to raise an alarm regarding the possibility of holding the Olympics.
Earlier this month, new virus restrictions had been put in place in several parts of Japan, including Tokyo and Osaka. The measures are significantly looser than lock-downs seen in other parts of the world, but they have forced the Olympic torch relay off public roads in Osaka. Instead, the flame is being carried along a closed course inside a park with the public kept away.
The head if the Tokyo Medical Association, Haruo Ozaki has warned that if cases continue to increase at the current rate, hosting the Olympics the “normal way”, with athletes coming from different countries may become impossible. This bleak prediction comes as Japanese spectators enjoy the recent successes of local Olympians Rikako Ikee, swimmer, and golfer Hideki Matsuyama.
Ozaki said, watching them play had been inspiring. “I couldn’t hold back my tears watching Ikee and Matsuyama’s great performances. I want to watch their great performances at the Olympics too. But, from my position as the head of medical workers, I have to say that holding the Games is really difficult.”
He urged organizers to show concrete measures on how the spread of the virus could be stemmed with a mega event like the Olympics underway. The rise in Covid-19 cases in Japan and abroad is fueling concerns about whether the Games can, or should, go ahead.
In response to the looming threat of the virus over shadowing the games, Olympic organizers have released a series of virus rule-books they say will keep the Games safe. Some of the measures include; barring overseas spectators, limiting the movement of athletes and regular virus testing. But vaccination will not be required and quarantine rules will be waived for Olympic participants.
Earlier in this year, polls showed a majority of people in Japan wanted the Games postponed or cancelled. Since then, support for holding the event this summer has risen since a winter surge in infections, but still hovers below 30 percent.
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