Tokyo Olympics 2020: ‘The pandemic is a test. And the World is failing’ – WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus addresses IOC session ahead of the Summer Games

Dr. Tedros asserts that the aim at the Tokyo Olympics is to break the chain of transmission by following proper measures.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus addressing the IOC
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus addressing the IOC

The Tokyo Olympics, which will kick off in two days time, is gearing up to serve as a beacon of hope for the World which continues to struggle with a deadly pandemic. The Olympic Games which has always stood as a symbol of peace and unity despite our differences will be setting forth an example of how one can tackle the deadly virus by following the protocols even in the direst of times.

Ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus addressed an IOC session in a bid to send a message to the World from the “mountaintop”. Dr. Tedros hailed the pandemic as a test, one the world has failed miserably and is suffering the consequences of.

More than any other event, the Olympics have the power to bring the world together, to inspire, to show what is possible. And more than any other event, they command the attention of the world’s people. And that is why I have come,” said Dr. Tedros.

I have come this time – to this global mountaintop – with a message for the world’s people to hear. In fact, I have come to answer a question. It’s a question I am often asked, and which the people of the world are asking: when will this pandemic end? Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic has asked us many questions: About ourselves; and about our world. The pandemic is a test. And the world is failing.

“The mark of success is making sure that if any cases are identified onward transmission is interrupted at the Tokyo Olympics” Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Authorities helping to avoid the spread of covid
Tokyo Olympics 2020: Authorities helping to avoid the spread of covid

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has been working closely with the International Olympic Association (IOC) to work out the protocols to prevent any infection during the Games. Dr. Tedros asserts that the Olympics will not only be a glimmer of hope and happiness for the public but also a showcase of how we can defeat the virus by following proper measures.

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WHO is pleased to have played our part by providing technical advice to the IOC and Japan during your preparations,” Dr. Tedros said.

Over the next two weeks, and for the Paralympic Games next month, those plans and precautions will be put to the test. It is my sincerest hope that they succeed – not only for the sake of the games themselves, and the safety of the athletes, trainers and officials – but as a demonstration of what is possible with the right plans and the right measures.

Thus far, 75 cases of COVID-19 has been reported by the organisers. The WHO DG adds that the aim is not to ensure “zero infection” as there is always some risk. The aim at the Games is to break the chain of transmission by following proper measures and it looks like the organisers have been fairly successful in doing so.

The mark of success in the coming fortnight is not zero cases, and I know that some cases have already been detected.

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. That is the mark of success for every country. The mark of success is not zero risk; there is not zero risk in anything, forget about this very complicated one.

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