Professor of infectious diseases at Kobe University, Kentaro Iwata raised his concerns over conducting the Tokyo Olympics in even 2021. Due to demand from athletes and sports federations, Japan and International Olympic Committee (IOC), last month agreed to delay Tokyo Olympics until July 2021. Officials received major complaints from various athletes facing travel ban under lockdowns in different countries.
There are doubts that even a year-long delay is adequate enough to conduct the Games as pandemic continues to sore throughout the world. The outbreak has to be under control everywhere as you have to invite athletes and audience from all over the world, mentioned Iwata in a news briefing. "Japan might be able to control this disease by next summer, I wish we could, but I don't think that would happen everywhere on Earth, so in this regard, I'm very pessimistic about holding the Olympic Games next summer," he added.
Iwata said Games could only be conducted next year if they are notably altered like allowing no audience or very limited participation by the athletes. The professor was also in news recently for criticizing Japan's handling of the coronavirus situation on Diamond Princess Cruise ship. More than 700 people on the board got infected and 13 died as officials decided to carry on-ship quarantine.
Organizers prepare the stage for next summer
Organizers still says that their mission is to conduct Games by next summer. Tokyo 2021 and IOC are working on the measures to be taken against COVID-19 and closely cooperating with World Health Organization. "We will continue to work closely with relevant organizations and review all necessary countermeasures," they told AFP.
Chair of global health at the University of Edinburgh, Devi Sridhar also reportedly said that it is very unrealistic to think that Games could be held by next year unless a vaccine is found. An effective, affordable and available vaccine could be a game-changer, he told BBC.
It was a tough decision for officials of Japan as well as IOC to postpone the Tokyo Olympic 2020 as qualifiers and test events already either got altered or cancelled due to havoc brought by the coronavirus. Japan has reported 377 new cases and 18 deaths on Tuesday taking the total number of confirmed cases to 11,512 and 281 fatalities due to coronavirus so far.