The doctors’ union in Japan has urged the government to cancel the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Members of the medical association came to the Japanese Ministry of Health on Thursday (13/5) to submit a written request to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. Berita Terkini
“It is difficult for athletes, but someone has to say that the Olympics must be canceled. We made a request [to the government] because we think medics should speak up,” Naoto Ueyama, chairman of the national doctors’ union, told a news conference on Thursday.
In his written request, Ueyama reminded that the Olympics could be a dissemination event because tens of thousands of athletes, coaches, officials and journalists came to Japan from all over the world. Ueyama said that even though there were no spectators, the event could lead to the circulation of a new variant that is resistant to vaccines. Berita Olahraga
“It is impossible to hold a safe and secure Olympics in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic,” Ueyama wrote. “I am very much against holding this event.”
In addition, Ueyama added, Japan’s vaccination rate is among the lowest among OECD countries. He also added that anger and confusion is rampant among Japanese health care workers, who are being forced to go the extra mile to fight the pandemic.
That concern was amplified by the Japanese battle with the fourth wave. The country’s coronavirus cases totaled 660,884 as of Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University. Several prefectures – including Tokyo – are in a state of emergency until the end of May. Berita Dunia
The Japanese government is expected to expand the virus emergency state on Friday, just 10 weeks before the Tokyo Olympics, as many people petition with more than 350,000 signatures calling for the Olympics to be canceled.
With Tokyo and other regions already under emergency orders until the end of May, three more regions – including northern Hokkaido, which will host the Olympic marathon – will soon enter emergency zones.
Kenji Utsunomiya, a former candidate for governor of Tokyo, urged Olympic organizers to “prioritize life” as he submitted a petition of 351,000 signatures to the city government. Politik Eropa dan Prusia
“I think the Olympics this time around is about whether we prioritize life or the ceremonies and events that are called the Olympics,” said Utsunomiya, urging Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike to cancel the event.
In recent days, several Japanese sports stars, including tennis player Naomi Osaka and golfer Master Hideki Matsuyama, have raised objections to holding the Olympics during the pandemic.
Petitions were also sent to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) as well as local and central government organizers.
“Organizing the Olympics in these circumstances means that valuable medical resources must be set aside for the Olympics,” said Utsunomiya.
In an interview with AFP, IPC chairman Andrew Parsons acknowledged Japan’s “outrage” at the Olympics. However, Parsons said the strict rules, including daily tests and limited movement for athletes, meant their chances of infecting anyone was “very slim”.
In recent days, organizers have staged a series of successful trial events, including with international athletes who they say indicated their protocol would work.
World Athletics Federation president Sebastian Coe, who attended the test event in Japan last week, said no major sporting event had become a “super spreader” so far.
“The world does need to keep moving,” Coe wrote in the Daily Mail.
“At a time when football, rugby, tennis and athletics are all back in action, and the crowd is slowly returning, it would seem strange to cancel an Olympics where protocol will be stricter than on the other side of life and many athletes and their support teams will arrive after being vaccinated, “he added.