The Star Early Edition

Safety first for Olympics

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THE Internatio­nal Olympic Committee (IOC) would continue to “work with full engagement” towards a safe Olympics, an IOC spokespers­on said.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said this week: “We must first prevent the spread of the virus.” Suga’s government is under fierce criticism over its handling of the pandemic.

An IOC spokespers­on said: “The IOC has initiated an already very successful vaccinatio­n programme for the national delegation­s coming to Japan. This will ensure that the vast majority of the residents of the Olympic Village will arrive in Japan vaccinated.”

So far Japan has only managed to vaccinate 240000 of those aged 65 or older with the second of their two jabs.

In the following two weeks, the government said it would deliver enough vaccines to local municipali­ties to inoculate 9 million seniors, with all 36 million of this demographi­c having the requisite amount of vaccine doses by the end of June.

Tokyo is under an extended state of emergency until the end of May, and organisers said that IOC president Thomas Bach’s visit to Japan on May 17 and 18 has been postponed. An opinion poll by the Yomiuri Shimbun daily showed nearly 60% of people in Japan want the Games cancelled.

Tokyo 2020, postponed by a year due to the pandemic, is to take place from July 23 to August 8.

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