Tokyo’s Governor, Yuriko Koike, said enough hospitals, combined with a speed-up in the vaccination rollout among the elderly, meant the city would be able to hold “safe and secure” Olympics in 10 days.
The governor spoke at an interview with Reuters in Tokyo, Japan on Tuesday.
Koike also warned that the coronavirus pandemic was far from over and the spreading Delta variant remained a risk.
“Very many people will be vaccinated in the coming 10 days and during the Olympics.
“The biggest change because 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,” said Koike.
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.
This development also pushed the 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 television to keep the movement of people to a minimum.
“It’s very sad that the Games are being held without spectators.
“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,” he said.
The Games, postponed from 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will run from July 23 to August 8.
Meanwhile, while the state of emergency, the capital’s fourth – lasts until August 22, shortly before the Paralympics begin. (Reuters/NAN)