TOKYO: A top medical organisation has thrown its weight behind calls to cancel the Tokyo Olympics, saying that hospitals are already overwhelmed as the country battles a spike in COVID-19 infections less than three months from the start of the Games.
“We strongly request that the authorities convince the IOC (International Olympic Committee) that holding the Olympics is difficult and obtain its decision to cancel the Games”
A jump in infections has stoked alarm amid a shortage of medical staff and hospital beds in some areas of the Japanese capital, prompting the government to extend a third state of emergency until May 31.
“The medical institutions dealing with COVID-19 have their hands full and have almost no spare capacity,” the medical association said in its letter.
Doctors would soon face the added difficulty of dealing with heat exhaustion patients during the summer months, and if the Olympics contributed to a rise in deaths “Japan will bear the maximum responsibility”, it added.
Other health experts and medical groups have voiced their concerns about the Olympics, while an online petition calling for the Games to be cancelled was signed by hundreds of thousands of people.
The number of new cases in Japan nationwide dropped to 3,680 on Monday, the lowest level since Apr 26, according to public broadcaster NHK, but the number of heavy infections hit a record high of 1,235, the health ministry said on Tuesday.