Bach convinced Olympics will go ahead despite pandemic

Madrid, Mar 10 (efe-epa).- The head of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach on Wednesday said he still believes the Tokyo Olympics will get underway in July as planned, despite a year of delays due to the coronavirus pandemic which still has no real end in sight.

“At this moment we have no reason to doubt that the opening ceremony will take place on July 23,” the German told the 137th Session of the IOC, at which he was re-elected as the head of the organization for four more years.

The Summer Olympic Games are scheduled for July 23-Aug. 8, with the Paralympics to follow from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.

In one of the several messages he convoyed to reassure the Japanese people, Bach said his organization had prioritized the safety of both participants and the hosts. Recent polls showed that up to 80 percent of the Japanese population want the event to be canceled or postponed again.

 Bach singled out supporters attending as one of the areas that still needs to be adapted to the current pandemic situation.

The Japanese government meanwhile said on Wednesday that it would be “difficult” to grant foreigners entrance for the Olympics and Paralympics, although it made it clear that a decision has yet to be made.

The government’s role is “to take care of the Japanese people’s security,” the spokesperson for the Japanese government Katsunobu Kato, said during a press conference on Wednesday, adding that the entry of foreign visitors for the Games has been complicated by the spread of new coronavirus variants. EFE-EPA


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