A Japanese infectious disease expert says he does not think it is likely the Tokyo Olympic games will be held at its rescheduled date next year because of what he foresees as the lingering threat of the coronavirus.
Speaking in an interview via teleconference Monday at the Foreign Correspondents club of Japan, Kobe University Infectious Diseases Professor Kentaro Iwata said because the Olympics involve bringing in athletes and spectators from all over the world, there is too much of a risk in restarting a COVID-19 outbreak.
Iwata said holding the Olympics is a matter of both Japan getting the virus under control, and then the rest of the world doing the same. He said unless they totally alter the format, such as having no audience or limited participation, he was very pessimistic, even if a vaccine is developed by then.
Japan’s organizing committee, along with the International Olympic Committee, moved the summer games to next year because of the Pandemic. The Associated Press reports the CEO of Japan’s organizing committee, Toshiro Muto had also expressed reservations about the games being held next year.
The Olympics routinely draw about 11,000 athletes plus “Paralympians” as well as staff, coaches and trainers. Thousands of foreign visitors also attend.