Pessimism around the staging of Olympics in Tokyo next year is growing with a Japanese expert on infectious diseases latest to question whether postponing the Summer Games by a year will be enough. Also Read - Jitendra Singh, Ram Madhav in Self-quarantine After J&K BJP Chief Tests Positive For Coronavirus
“To be honest with you I don’t think the Olympics is likely to be held next year,” Kentaro Iwata, a professor of infectious diseases at Kobe University said on Monday. Also Read - Complete Shutdown in Bihar From July 16 to 31: Know Here What’s Allowed, What’s Not
Iwata says even if Japan manages to bring the virus under control, it will still require the entire world to be free of the illness to safely organise the Olympics which will see influx of athletes and fans from across the globe. Also Read - COVID-19 Antibodies May Last Only Few Months After Infection
“Holding Olympics needs two conditions, one: controlling COVID-19 in Japan and controlling COVID-19 everywhere, because you have to invite the athletes and the audience from all over the world,” he said.
He continued, “Japan might be able to control this disease by next summer, I wish we could, but I don’t think that would happen everywhere on Earth, so in this regard I’m very pessimistic about holding the Olympics Games next summer.”
Japan and International Olympic Committee (IOC) in a joint announcement last month delayed the Games to July 2021 after athletes and several national federations raised fears over safety due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Postponing Olympics is unprecedented although they have been cancelled thrice before in 1916, 1940 and 1944 due to the world wars.
Professor Devi Sridhar a leading global health scientist had earlier said the hosting Olympics in 2021 will become a realistic option should we “get a vaccine within the next year. The vaccine will be the game-changer – an effective, affordable, available vaccine.”