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News > Japan

COVID'S "Olympic" Strain Feared During Summer Tokyo Games

  • The upcoming summer Tokyo Games could create an

    The upcoming summer Tokyo Games could create an "Olympic" COVID strain, due to the confluence of several "strains" from around the world, Japan´s Doctors Union warns. | Photo: Twitter @ATGBrokers

Published 27 May 2021 (17 hours 2 minutes ago)
Opinion

This summer, competitors from more than 200 territories around the world will descend on Tokyo, and the possibility of a new "Olympic" strain is high, the head of the Japanese Doctors Union has warned.

The head of the Japan Doctors Union, Dr. Naoto Ueyama, has issued a warning related to the upcoming Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo, explaining that the convergence of thousands of athletes from all over the world could create an ‘Olympic’ strain of Covid-19, as Japan currently battles a fourth wave of the virus.

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Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Dr. Ueyama highlighted how proceeding with the Olympic games would bring together in Tokyo “all of the different mutant strains of the virus which exist in different places.” With the Japanese nation already struggling to battle the virus, officials “cannot deny the possibility of even a new strain of the virus potentially emerging.”

"If such a situation were to arise, it could even mean a Tokyo Olympic strain of the virus being named in this way, which would be a huge tragedy," remarked Dr. Ueyama.

The medical professional’s warning comes after the Japanese government and the International Olympic Committee claimed that “safe and secure” games would be held in the summer under strict Covid-19 restrictions.

For the international summer event, competitors from more than 200 territories worldwide will descend on Tokyo, which has already suffered as a result of Japan’s slow vaccination drive that has only covered 5% of the country’s citizens.

Public attendance to the Olympics has been prohibited, and in the next few weeks, the rules around domestic guests will be outlined. These measures come alongside international concerns, while the U.S. State Department has issued a ‘Do Not Travel’ order for Japan due to the “very high level of Covid-19 in the country.”

On Wednesday, an official partner of the 2020 Olympics, Asahi Shimbun, published an editorial calling for the games to be canceled due to the risk it poses to public safety and the concerns that a spike in cases caused by the competition could overwhelm the country’s healthcare service.

Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto has dismissed fears about the Olympics, stating that the group’s board is not considering canceling or postponing but is only focused on how to hold the games safely.

Japan is in the middle of the fourth wave of Covid-19, with nine regions throughout the country already under state-of-emergency restrictions only weeks before the Olympics are set to begin. Since the start of the pandemic, Japan has recorded 729,853 cases of the virus, with 12,601 fatalities, according to the World Health Organization data as of May 27.

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