MOSCOW (Sputnik) – John Coates, who oversees the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) coordination commission for the Tokyo Games, said the Olympic Games will go ahead as planned and promised to make them the ‘safest games possible’ amid growing concerns over COVID-19 cases.
The Olympic Games, which are set to open in 100 days, on 23 July, will be held over a two week period in the country’s capital, Tokyo, and will feature over 10,000 international athletes.
“I have no hesitation in saying that the games will take place and they’ll be the safest games possible … all of the countermeasures have been put in place to deal with COVID to ensure that the public, the athletes and all of the other participants are safe,” Coates said as quoted by Japanese Kyodo news agency.
To assail fears that the event may trigger a second global pandemic, fans from overseas will not be allowed to visit Japan and only a limited number of locals will be able to attend the event in person.
While Japanese organisers and the IOC are promising their first concern is safety, many local residents remain skeptical that the event will go ahead as a large number of people have not yet been vaccinated in the country.
“Due to the current circumstances, I understand there are many opinions about the Olympics … therefore, I am determined that we must hold safe and secure games,” vice president of the organising committee Toshiaki Endo was quoted by the news agency as saying.
The Olympic Games were postponed last year due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tokyo has reported over 126,000 COVID-19 cases, the highest in any other region in the country. Over 513,000 people have been infected in Japan and only 0.4 percent of the population was vaccinated.