Japanese virologist won’t see Tokyo 2021 Games | Right away

Several scientists are wondering whether the Tokyo Olympics could take place next summer. A Japanese virologist is even “very pessimistic” about the chances of the event starting on July 23, 2021.

“To be honest, I don’t think it’s likely that the Games will take place next year,” Professor Kentaro Iwata of Kobe University’s Infectious Diseases Department said in a video conference with correspondents in Japan on Monday.

“To hold the Games, two conditions must be met: the COVID-19 virus must be under control in Japan and be under global control, as athletes and fans from all over the world will come to Tokyo. I don’t think the disease will be gone everywhere next summer, so I’m very pessimistic about the continuation of the games.”

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided last month to move the Summer Games by one year to the period from 23 July to 8 August 2021. There was a lot more time, but next year it could still be a big risk to travel to Japan with 11,000 athletes and hundreds of thousands of fans from all over the world.

“The Games are a very risky event for all those people who have to travel,” American Emory University epidemiologist Zach Binney told the news agency. Reuters“I think we really have to wait for a vaccine to be able to exercise in full stadiums again.”

“Playing will probably look very different”

Scientists believe it will take at least another year for a working vaccine against the COVID-19 virus to be applied, but there is also a significant chance that it will not be available until after the scheduled dates of the Games.

“And if there is no vaccine yet, the organizing committee will need a lot of creativity to host the games,” said Canadian Jason Kindrachuk of the Department of Medical Microbiology at the University of Manitoba. “And the fans will have to understand that the games will look very different than usual.”

Japanese virologist Iwata also believes that next year’s Games can only take place if the line-up changes significantly. “For example, without fans or with significantly fewer participants.”

Toshiro Muto, the chairman of Japan’s organizing committee, admitted a week and a half ago that he could not guarantee that the Games would continue next year. “But that’s what we’re focused on.”

A spokesman for the organizing committee reiterated Monday’s latest message against the Reuters“Our mission is to prepare for next summer’s Games. We don’t need to answer speculative questions.”

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