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27 Jan, 2021 11:40

Bill Gates says vaccine rollout crucial for chances of Tokyo Olympics going ahead

Bill Gates says vaccine rollout crucial for chances of Tokyo Olympics going ahead

American philanthropist Bill Gates says that the Olympic Games intended to take place in Tokyo this summer may still proceed as planned so long as a sufficient rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine has taken place.

This summer's Games, which were postponed from last year due to the emergence of Covid-19, are due to begin in just under seven months' time.

Gates, the co-founder of the Microsoft Corporation and more recently an advocate for the coronavirus vaccine, says that the upcoming festival of sport could still be allowed to proceed.

Also on rt.com Japan denies seeking a ‘face-saving way’ to cancel Tokyo Olympics due to coronavirus

Gates has donated upwards of $1.75 billion towards the research and development of measures designed to fight Covid-19, and told Japan's Kyodo News that the upcoming few months will be absolutely crucial in determining if the Olympics are feasible.

"In the next few months, we have to look at the progress we make," Gates said of the various vaccines and their distribution.

"But you know, I think it's still possible if things go well.

"If things don't go well, that would be unfortunate, but you know, we're doing our best to help those vaccines get approved and get going for the entire world."

The Tokyo Organizing Committee has insisted that the Games will go ahead as planned this summer after a one-year delay which has seen them face soaring costs and growing questions from both international athletes and the Japanese public about the viability of hosting such an international event during an international health crisis.

The International Olympic Committee this week said that it was "determined" to hold a "safe and secure" event, and said that they urge all competitors to be vaccinated. An IOC board meeting scheduled for Wednesday could shed further light on this matter.

Rumors emerged last week that Japanese officials were looking for a way out of hosting the event, per British newspaper The Times. 

Also on rt.com Over 70 percent of Japanese people want Tokyo Olympics to be postponed or CANCELLED – survey

Kentaro Iwata, an infectious disease expert at Kobe University, has also stated that the Games should not be permitted to proceed when the country is "facing far more danger than last year" as case numbers in the country soar.

The IOC have already stated that a second cancellation is impossible but with a recent poll indicating that around 70 percent of the population want the Olympics to be abandoned, it seems some difficult decisions may soon be made.