Games can ignite determination to end Covid-19: WHO chief

Health Watch

World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has thrown his weight behind the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics, even as a surge in the delta variant drives a resurgence of the Covid-19 around the world.
The Tokyo Olympics faced continued opposition just days before the opening ceremony.
Speaking to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Tokyo, Dr Ghebreyesus acknowledged the scale of the problem posed by the pandemic, but drew parallels between the Olympic spirit and the need for governments and people around the world to work together to beat the virus.
“May these games be the moment that unites the world and ignites the solidarity and determination we need to end the pandemic together, by vaccinating 70 per cent of the population of every country by the middle of next year,” he said yesterday.
“May the Olympic torch be a symbol of hope that traverses the planet. May the rays of hope from this land of the rising sun illuminate a new dawn for a world that is healthier, safer and fairer.” The Tokyo Olympics was forced into an unprecedented delay after the WHO declared a pandemic last March.
Organisers have introduced a slew of measures, designed in conjunction with the WHO, to reduce the risk of the Covid-19 and ensure the games remain safe and secure.
But rising cases around the world and in Japan have undermined public confidence, increasing opposition to the event going ahead.
Tokyo recorded 1,387 new cases on Tuesday, bringing its total since the pandemic started to more than 840,000 cases.
Some 15,055 people in Japan have died from the disease and more than 4.1 million worldwide.
Dozens of cases have already been linked to the Olympics, including a number of athletes, which has further undermined public trust in coronavirus mitigation efforts. – Al Jazeera

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