Japan’s health workers rebel against Tokyo 2020

Tokyo, May 3 (EFE).- Japanese healthcare workers have spurned plans to deploy 10,000 of the already overworked personnel during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics just as a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections has pushed the number severe cases to a new record.

Organizers were planning to designate around 10,000 healthcare workers at the Olympic village and competitions’ venues to carry out the mandatory daily tests and treat possible coronavirus cases among the participants.

Last week, organizers ask the Japanese Nursing Association for 500 professionals to “voluntarily” work at the Olympics, which proved to be the last straw.

Healthcare unions and professionals took to social media to denounce that “nurses are not disposable pieces” and that “we, nurses, are desperate to protect our patients,” messages that were shared by thousands of users.

A hashtag against dispatching nurses to the Olympics became a trend on Twitter in Japan and promoters dubbed it a “virtual protest.”

The Japan Federation of Medical Workers’ Unions issued a statement on Friday demanding the organizers’ request be revoked.

“I feel strong anger against the insistence to organize the Olympics despite the risk they pose to the lives and health of patients and healthcare professionals,” the federation’s secretary-general Susumu Morita said.

Several Japanese prefectures, including Osaka and Aichi, have been struggling with a shortage of medical staff, many of whom have contracted the coronavirus.

Some other healthcare workers have left their jobs due to harsh conditions, which include exceeding the legal limit of night shifts.

The current shortage of personnel and backlash forced organizers to change their initial plans to have most of those healthcare workers on a voluntary basis.

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