Tokyo Olympics In Doubt, Again, Due to COVID-19 Surge

The rescheduled Games are set to take place between July 23 and August 8

Tokyo Olympics In Doubt Again Due to COVID-19 Surge
Olympic rings near National Stadium, the main venue for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
AFP via Getty Images

Already pushed back a year, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics may not take place during the summer of 2021 as planned due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.

In what figures to be a recurring story until more people associated with the Games are vaccinated, there is doubt about whether the Olympics will be able to take place between July 23 and August 8 as scheduled.

Though Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga reiterated his intention to hold the Games earlier this week, a second state of emergency related to the pandemic was declared on Friday in Tokyo. The city recorded 2,447 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday.

In comments to the BBC, International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound cast some doubt about whether the Games will go on as planned.

“I can’t be certain because the ongoing elephant in the room would be the surges in the virus,” he said.

His comments reflect the wishes of many Tokyo residents, as a December poll by broadcaster NHK found one-third of residents want the Games to be canceled. In the same poll, 31 percent of respondents favored another delay and only 27 percent said the Olympics should go ahead as scheduled.

With the Games still on for the time being, Pound is advocating for the 15,000 athletes who are expected to descend on Tokyo for the Games to get vaccinated before they head to Japan.

“The IOC and the International Paralympic Committee are fully aligned in their commitment to have as many foreign participants as possible vaccinated before the Games,” he said. “Athletes are important role models, and by taking the vaccine they can send a powerful message that vaccination is not only about personal health, but also about solidarity and consideration for the wellbeing of others in their communities.”

As of now, the Paralympics are set to follow the Olympics from August 24 to September 5.

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