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The show must go on: IOC says delayed Tokyo Olympics going ahead in 2021 is NOT dependent on Covid-19 vaccine

The show must go on: IOC says delayed Tokyo Olympics going ahead in 2021 is NOT dependent on Covid-19 vaccine
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said the Games could go ahead next summer, whether or not a coronavirus inoculation had been developed. The event, which was supposed to begin in July, was postponed due to the pandemic.

John Coates, head of the IOC Coordination Commission claims the Tokyo Games going ahead is not reliant on the development of Covid-19 immunization. “The advice we’re getting from WHO [the World Health Organization] says we should continue to plan for this date [July 2021] and that is what we’re doing, and that’s not contingent on a vaccine.”

The Australian lawyer was responding to comments made by the head of the Japanese Medical Association, Yoshitake Yokokura. Yokokura said on Tuesday that it would be “difficult” for Japan to host the games, which have already been postponed for a year, without a vaccine being developed.

Coates poured cold water on those claims, dismissing them as “an opinion”. He added that a vaccine “would be nice”, but the committee would continue to be “guided” by the WHO and the Japanese health authorities, saying that “the health of the athletes and other participants” is its “the number-one priority."

Coates’ and Yokokura’s comments came hot on the heels of Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori saying that the Games would be “scrapped” altogether, if they could not take place next year. The event has been rescheduled to run from July 23 to August 8, 2021.

The delay has been a huge blow for Japan, which had already spent US$13 billion preparing to host the Games this summer. The postponement is expected to add another US$2.7 billion, Forbes reports. 

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During the pandemic, Japan has recorded more than 13,000 Covid-19 infection cases and nearly 400 deaths. Earlier this month, its government announced a US$990 billion emergency stimulus package to keep the world’s third-largest economy going.

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