Olympics impossible unless Covid-19 is contained: Japan PM Shinzo Abe
It will be impossible to host the Tokyo Olympic Games next year unless the coronavirus pandemic is contained, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said yesterday. The International Olympic Committee and the Japanese government last month postponed the Games until July 2021 because of the pandemic.
With the worldwide infection rate climbing and experts suggesting a vaccine is still a long way off, questions are being asked whether the showpiece event might need to be delayed further.
"We've been saying the Olympic and Paralympic Games must be held in a complete form, in that athletes and spectators can all participate safely," said Abe.
"It would be impossible to hold the Games in such a complete form unless the coronavirus pandemic is contained."
Meanwhile, International Olympic Committee member John Coates said yesterday the Games are not contingent on the development of a vaccine for Covid-19.
His comments come after the president of the Japan Medical Association, a powerful physicians' lobby, said on Tuesday it would be "difficult" for Japan to host the already postponed Games in 2021 without an effective Covid-19 vaccine.
"But the advice we're getting from WHO (World Health Organisation) says we should continue to plan for this date and that is what we're doing, and that's not contingent on a vaccine," Coates said. "A vaccine would be nice." - REUTERS