LONDON: International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said Wednesday it is “clearly not irresponsible” to push ahead with preparations for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics amid the coronavirus crisis.
Noting that his view is based on facts concerning sporting events held around the world and virus countermeasures that are available, Bach told a press conference after the IOC’s Executive Board meeting, “If we would think it would be irresponsible and if we would think the big games could not be safe, we would not go for it.”
The positive rate came to only 0.18 percent among 175,000 COVID-19 tests that were carried out for over 7,000 events organized by international federations during the winter season, according to Bach.
As reasons for not considering canceling the Tokyo Games or postponing them again, Bach said that international events attended by some 3,000 people are currently being held. He also said that vaccinations and new rapid testing methods are now available.
Commenting on rising voices of opposition in Japan to the Tokyo Games, Bach said he can understand that it is “extremely difficult” for Japanese people to imagine the Olympics being held at a time when they do not know whether they can see their friends or family amid the coronavirus crisis.
In early February, the IOC will provide national Olympic committees with a playbook showing immigration and potential quarantine rules for entering Japan and ways to ensure social distancing, as well as information on the Olympic village and transportation means in the country.
Over 10,000 athletes are slated to take part in the Tokyo Olympic Games, which have been postponed by one year due to the viral spread.