Coronavirus live news: Tokyo Olympics will be safe, says IOC; vaccines ‘make nine people billionaires’

Posted by on May 20, 2021 1:44 am
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Categories: Global Stories

IOC tells Japan that Tokyo Olympics will be safe for athletes and community; profits from Covid vaccines have helped nine people become billionaires

6.44am BST

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) reassured an anxious Japan on Wednesday that the Tokyo Olympics would be safe for athletes as well as the host community, amid mounting opposition to the Games and fears it will fuel a spike in Covid cases, Reuters reports.

Speaking via videoconference that was broadcast alongside senior Japanese officials in Tokyo, IOC chief Thomas Bach said he believed more than 80% of residents of the Olympic Village would be vaccinated or booked for vaccination ahead of the Games set to start on 23 July.

He rejected growing calls to cancel the global sporting showpiece, already delayed once due to the pandemic, saying that other sporting events had proved the Olympics could go ahead with strong precautions.

Bach’s comments came as Japan kept up its battle on a fourth wave of infections, although a slow vaccination campaign has undermined already shaky public confidence that the Games should proceed.

“Together with our Japanese partners and friends, I can only re-emphasise this full commitment of the IOC to organise safe Olympic and Paralympic games for everybody,” Bach said.

“To accomplish this, we are now fully focused on the delivery of the Olympic Games.”

Less than 30% of medics in Japan’s major cities have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, with just 65 days left to the start of the Olympics, the Nikkei newspaper said.

Cabinet figures showed this week that three months into Japan’s vaccination push, less than 40% of its medical workers were fully inoculated.

The problem is especially pronounced in the capital, Tokyo, which plays host to the Games, and other large population centres, where the rate of fully vaccinated medical workers was less than 30%, the Nikkei added.

6.26am BST

Profits from Covid-19 jabs have helped at least nine people become billionaires, a campaign group said Thursday, calling for an end to pharmaceutical corporations’ “monopoly control” on vaccine technology, AFP reports.

“Between them, the nine new billionaires have a combined net wealth of $19.3 billion (15.8 billion euros), enough to fully vaccinate all people in low-income countries 1.3 times,” The People’s Vaccine Alliance said in a statement.

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