The head of the Japanese medical association said it would be difficult to hold the Olympics without a coronavirus vaccine, and he hoped an effective vaccine or drug to treat COVID-19 would be developed quickly.
“In my view, it will be difficult to hold an Olympics unless an effective vaccine is developed,” Japan Medical Association President Yoshitake Yokokura told a video press conference in Tokyo on Tuesday. “I hope vaccines and medicines will be developed as soon as possible.”
Japan and the International Olympic Committee agreed to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympics until July next year because of the global coronavirus pandemic. Japan is under a state of emergency for a month amid a rapid increase in infections across the country, where hospitals are overburdened and cause fears of a collapse of the medical system.
Yokokura said the Olympics were only possible if the infection was controlled not only in Japan but also globally. He did not say whether he opposed the Olympics without a vaccine.
“The key is the situation with the infection at the time [when the Games are planned]. “If the infection is only controlled in Japan, it will still be difficult to hold the Olympics unless the pandemic ends worldwide,” Yokokura said.
Experts say it will take several years or more to develop a vaccine that is safe and effective for clinical use.
Japan had 13,576 COVID-19 cases, as well as 712 others from cruise ships quarantined near Tokyo earlier this year, with 389 deaths, the health ministry said Tuesday.
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