Tokyo Games may be too big a gamble, disease expert says

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TOKYO — As embattled Tokyo Olympics organizers enter the final six months of preparations for the delayed Games on Saturday, virus experts believe hosting the world’s biggest sporting event may be too big a gamble.

The Olympics are due to start on July 23, but with much of Japan in a state of emergency and growing public opposition, organizers are under increasing pressure.

Japan has been less severely hit by the coronavirus pandemic than many other advanced economies, but a recent surge in cases spurred it to close its borders to non-resident foreigners and declare a state of emergency in Tokyo and major cities.

With 15,000 athletes plus support staff expected to descend on Tokyo for the delayed Olympics and Paralympics Games from all over the world, the Games represent a unique challenge for organizers.

“Do you have to risk that? Risk by holding the Olympic Games? I don’t think so,” Kentaro Iwata, a prominent infectious diseases expert from Kobe University told Reuters.

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“We are facing far more danger than last year, so why do you have to hold the Olympic Games, cancelled last year due to risk of infections, this year?” — Reuters

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