The Japanese government still intends to mobilize 10,000 doctors and nurses for the Tokyo Olympics scheduled in six months, said the minister in charge of the Olympics on Tuesday, although the Japanese medical system is currently saturated with the coronavirus.
Tokyo and ten other Japanese departments have been placed in a state of emergency since early January to deal with a sharp upsurge of the coronavirus in the country.
Japan has been relatively spared from the pandemic so far, with around 5,000 deaths in the past year, but doctors have warned the health system is at risk of collapse, especially if the Olympics worsen the number of infections.
Relaying these fears, the opposition in Parliament sharply criticized the government’s unchanged plans on Tuesday.
“We are trying to get the necessary medical personnel from around 10,000 people, asking doctors and nurses to each work for about five days during the Games period,” Olympic minister Seiko told Parliament. Hashimoto.
Organizers are still discussing what medical infrastructure will be needed and how to “treat Covid-19 infections” at the event, Hashimoto added.
The worsening of the pandemic across the world, including in Japan, has revived doubts about the holding of the Tokyo Olympics, already postponed last year because of the health crisis.
Several recent polls have shown a drop in support for the Olympics in Japanese public opinion.
And the president of the Japanese Medical Association, Toshio Nakagawa, sounded the alarm last week about Olympic spectators coming from overseas.
Under the current circumstances, it would be “impossible” to treat them in hospital for a coronavirus infection, Nakagawa assured at a press conference.
Around 11,000 athletes from around the world are expected to compete in the Olympics, but Olympic officials recently raised the possibility of holding the event without spectators.
The US, Canadian and Australian Olympic committees have said they are still preparing their athletes for Tokyo.
Monday, Denis Masseglia, President of the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF), warned that athletes participating in the Tokyo Olympics without being vaccinated will have to deal with “extremely difficult” conditions, including “a form of quarantine”.
The IOC officially encourages the vaccination of athletes but cannot impose it.