After last year’s revocation due to COVID-19, the Olympic Games are due to kick off in Tokyo in four weeks. Several people in Japan continue to question the ruling to carry on the games and the risk of triggering another wave of infections that could impact the country’s weak economic healing. Last month, the head of the Japan Doctors Union advised that the gathering could even breed a new “Olympic variant” of COVID-19.
Experts fear Olympic variant of coronavirus
A group of Japanese scientists, including some of the nation’s most senior consultants on the COVID-19 pandemic, are cautioning that enabling spectators at the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will boost the virus reach locally and internationally.
Spectators from abroad have been banned from attending, organisers said capacity would be set at 50 percent with a maximum of 10,000 people at a certain venue.
Though international spectators are excluded from attending the Olympics, the event will still attract athletes and officials from around the world, heightening the risk of new variants of COVID-19 being initiated into Japan.
Organizers have meanwhile circulated a “Playbook” to defy Olympics protocols that athletes, officials, journalists, and volunteers will be accountable to – including day-to-day tests for the 15,000 athletes flying in for the Games, as well as GPS trackers on media personnel to ensure they remain within appointed areas in the city.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo 2020 organisers, however, remain responsible in their intention to continue with already delayed Games. The IOC has also said 80 per cent of athletes and possibly 80 per cent of all partakers in the games will be vaccinated.
Till Wednesday, just over 6 percent of Japan’s population was fully vaccinated and less than 10 percent was partially vaccinated.
In front of the red-brick embankments of Tokyo Station, a digital clock counts down the days to the Olympic Games. But, is the clock ticking for the spread of Olympic-variant of coronavirus as well? Only time will tell! The questions outnumber the answers.