Olympics: Tokyo Governor Says City’s Medical System Is Ready

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Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said on Tuesday that a sufficient number of hospitals combined with a speed-up in the vaccination rollout among the elderly meant the city will be able to hold “safe and secure” Olympics in ten days.

Koike also warned that the coronavirus pandemic is far from over and the spreading Delta variant remains a risk.

“Very many people will be vaccinated in the coming ten days and during the Olympics,” Koike said in an interview at the Tokyo government headquarters which has for the last few weeks doubled as a vaccination site.

“The biggest change as a result of that will be a substantive fall in the ratio of deaths and severe cases among the elderly. Because of that, and because the medical system is ready, I think we can press ahead with a safe Olympics.”

Medical staff at Olympic stadium in Tokyo

The Japanese capital entered its fourth state of emergency on Monday causing bars and restaurants to close early, amid a rebound in COVID-19 cases that also pushed the Olympic Games organisers last week to ban spectators from nearly all venues.

Spectators from abroad were already banned months ago, and officials are now asking residents to watch the Games on TV to keep the movement of people to a minimum.

“It’s very sad that the Games are being held without spectators,” Koike added. “It’s clear we’ll be able to lower the risks (because of that), but the spectators are also very important for the athletes and give them a big boost.

“It’s a big shame that we have to hold the Olympics without them.”

The Olympic Games, postponed from last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, run from July 23 to August 8, while the state of emergency – the capital’s fourth – lasts until August 22, shortly before the Paralympics begin.

Chidi Nwoke/Reuters.

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