‘Impossible’ to hold Olympics: Doctors
May 14 2021 12:28 AM
A spectator raises a paper sign reading ‘It is impossible to hold the Olympics, face up to reality’
A spectator raises a paper sign reading ‘It is impossible to hold the Olympics, face up to reality’ along the race route during the half-marathon as part of Hokkaido-Sapporo Marathon Festival 2021, a testing event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics marathon race.

AFP/Reuters/ Tokyo

• Japanese towns drop plans to host Olympic athletes – Nikkei

Holding the Tokyo Olympics safely as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage would be “impossible”, a union of Japanese hospital doctors has warned.
“We strongly oppose holding the Tokyo Olympics at a time when people around the world are fighting the new coronavirus,” the union said in a statement submitted to the government.
“It is impossible to hold a safe and secure Olympics during the pandemic.”
The union, which represents staff doctors at hospitals, is one of a number in Japan for different medical professionals. It does not list the size of its membership.
“We can’t deny the danger that many kinds of new virus variants will bring to Tokyo from around the world,” the union statement added. The statement comes as Japan battles a fourth wave of virus infections, with several areas including the capital under a state of emergency.
The surge has put pressure on the country’s healthcare system, with medical professionals repeatedly warning about shortages and burnout.
In recent days, several governors have said they will not allocate hospital beds for athletes.
And plans for teams to train in Japan before the Games have in some cases been scrapped.
With just over 10 weeks until the Games open on July 23, public opinion remains opposed, with most favouring a further delay or cancellation.
But organisers say they can safely hold the Games thanks to virus countermeasures and point to a string of successful recent test events, including some featuring overseas athletes.
Meanwhile, Dozens of Japanese towns have abandoned plans to host Olympics athletes due to concerns they will overburden already stretched medical resources amid a fourth wave of coronavirus infections, the Nikkei newspaper reported.
Forty out of more than 500 towns registered to welcome international competitors had decided not to accept athletes for training camps and cultural exchanges before the global sporting showpiece, the newspaper reported citing a government source.
The reluctance of some towns to host visiting athletes, normally a source of pride for communities outside the host city, is the latest sign of deep unease in Japan over the scheduling of the Games in the middle of a pandemic. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games were postponed last year and are currently scheduled to take place from July 23 to Aug. 8 despite a surge in infections and a state of emergency in the host city. Other regions scheduled to host athletes have also been hard hit, including the eastern prefecture of Chiba where the US track and field team had been due to have a training camp. The prefecture reported on Wednesday that the team had cancelled those plans.
Japan reported more than 7,000 new infections on Wednesday, with 969 cases in Tokyo.

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