Paralympic Committee chief warns against complacency toward Tokyo’s COVID-19 surge

Sat, 2021-08-14 13:05

KYODO: International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Chief Andrew Parsons on Friday warned against complacency toward a steep rise in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in Japan ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games starting on Aug. 24, Japanese media has reported.

“While it is encouraging that the Olympic Games were delivered safely and successfully, those attending the Paralympic Games should not get complacent,” Parsons said. “We cannot ignore the current case numbers in Japan and Tokyo, and I urge every single stakeholder for the Paralympic Games to be vigilant.”

The IPC and three other organizing bodies of the Paralympics will hold a meeting on Monday to set a policy on spectators, with the competitions expected to be held behind closed doors at most venues, as was the case with the Olympics, according to several officials.

With 10 days left until the opening of the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, Parsons called on participants to follow all anti-COVID-19 health and safety measures outlined in the “playbooks,” as the recent 17-day Olympics proved that they are effective.

“By doing this, will we deliver safe Paralympic Games for all stakeholders, as well as the Japanese people,” he said.

Since the start of Tokyo 2020 on July 23, the number of daily COVID-19 cases in Tokyo, which has been under a state of emergency for about one month, has almost tripled. Friday’s latest figures hit another record high of 5,773, and the nationwide daily count topped 20,000 for the first time.

Despite the rising numbers, the Paralympics are now set to go ahead on Aug. 24 following a one-year postponement due to the pandemic.

The 13-day Paralympics are expected to feature around 4,400 athletes from close to 160 countries, according to the IPC.

“With the Olympics now over, my excitement levels for the Paralympic Games are increasing by the minute,” said Parsons, who is expected to arrive in Japan on Monday.

Delegations from around the world have already started arriving in Japan for pre-Paralympic training camps, with the athletes’ village in Tokyo scheduled to formally open on Tuesday.

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