Virus Surges Fuel Fears 100 Days Before Tokyo Olympics
Muhammad Irfan 1 month ago Wed 14th April 2021 | 08:50 AM
Tokyo, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 14th Apr, 2021 ) :The Olympic flame is on its way across Japan and athletes around the world are ramping up training, but 100 days before Tokyo 2020 opens, organisers still face monumental challenges.
Virus surges, including in Japan, are playing havoc with preparations and fuelling uncertainty about whether the Games can, or should, happen this summer.
They have some cause for optimism.
The Olympic torch relay kicked off in Fukushima last month, albeit with spectators barred from the launch ceremony, and vaccination programmes are under way in many countries, with some athletes already inoculated.
Japan won't require Olympic participants to be vaccinated, but the International Olympic Committee is encouraging jabs and has secured Chinese-made doses for athletes in countries without access to them.
"Once we get there we really want to show the world all the work that we've put in." In Japan, swimmer Rikako Ikee has added a feel-good factor by winning a spot on the Olympic relay team just two years after being diagnosed with leukaemia.
On Wednesday, the head of Tokyo's Medical Association warned the rising infections could make holding the Games "really difficult".
Despite the problems, Tokyo 2020 organisers say they are confident "we will be able to deliver a safe and secure Games." They have released "playbooks" outlining anti-virus measures, which will be updated later this month, hoping to allay the fears of a public still largely opposed to holding the Games this year.
But athletes will be asked to limit their movements, stay only at the Olympic village during their events and face regular virus testing.
Polls show most Japanese back either a further postponement or cancellation, but the numbers in favour of holding the Games this summer have crept up, to around 27 percent in March, from just 11 percent in January.
"The Covid-19 situation will naturally influence the public view of the Games," organisers said in response to questions from AFP.
"Every time, we are inspired by their strength and resilience, and that will be truer than ever this year."