Olympics: WHO says it is impossible to reduce contagions to zero

World Health Organisation Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus issues statement. At least 71 positive cases in some way linked to the Games. A Chilean athlete in isolation will miss the competition. The head of the organising committee does not rule out the cancellation of the event even at a late stage. Today the first softball match between the home team and Australia.



Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) - It is not possible to reduce the risk of infection at the Olympics to zero, says the World Health Organisation director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, adding that the success of the Games should be judged on the basis of infection management.

"The mark of success...is not zero risk. I know that some cases have already been detected," he said. "The mark of success is making sure that any cases are identified, isolated, traced and cared for as quickly as possible and onward transmission is interrupted."

So far 71 people have tested positive in some way related to the sporting event. Today, eight new cases were counted, including a taekwondo athlete from Chile who will not take part in the competition because she will have to stay in isolation for at least 10 days. Two South African football players and a Czech volleyball player have also been infected this week. Yesterday, 3,836 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded across Japan, most of them in Tokyo prefecture.

Toshiro Muto, head of the organising committee in Tokyo, did not rule out the cancellation of the Games, contrary to what International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said more than a week ago.

"We will continue discussions if there is a spike in cases," said Mr Muto when asked at a press conference if the Games might be cancelled even at this late stage. "At this point, the coronavirus cases may rise or fall, so we will think about what we should do when the situation arises."

The opening ceremony will take place on 23 July but some sporting events have already started. Today the home softball team beat Australia 8-1 at Azuma Stadium in Fukushima, a city that had been chosen to aid the region's recovery