TOKYO (NEWS 1130) – We’re just nine weeks out from the start of the Tokyo Olympics, and there are more calls to cancel the Games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Tokyo Medical Practitioners’ Association represents about 6,000 primary care doctors in the Japanese capital. In an open letter to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, the doctors are requesting that Japanese authorities convince the International Olympic Committee that hosting the games is too difficult at this time.
The doctors say hospitals in the Olympic host city already have their hands full with COVID-19 infections on the rise, adding Japan will bear the maximum responsibility if the Games contribute to a rise in coronavirus-related deaths.
A state of emergency in that city and several other Japanese prefectures runs through the end of May.
Suga has said Japan can host a safe and secure Olympics while following strict protocol. Those thoughts were echoed by IOC President Thomas Bach Wednesday.
Bach anticipates more than 80 percent of those staying in the Olympic Village this summer will be fully vaccinated. He also offered to have additional medical personnel on hand when the Games get underway.
More than 10,000 athletes, coaches, and team officials are expected to descend on Japan in July, with the opening ceremonies slated for July 23. The Paralympics are set to open on Aug.24
Athletes in Canada have expressed concern about the Games as well. Eric Lamaze, a former Olympic gold medalist in show jumping, rescinded his Olympic candidacy this week.
Canada’s top Olympic doctor, Dr. Mike Wilkinson, stated in April he was confident our country’s athletes will be fully vaccinated before leaving for Tokyo.
-With files from Sportsnet