Olympic organisers will work with local hospitals to ensure medical staff are provided
The organisers of the Tokyo Olympics have secured about 80 per cent of the medical staff needed to stage the Games, a top Olympic official told Reuters on Monday, amid worries over infections and the slow rollout of vaccinations in the Japanese capital.
Toshiaki Endo, vice president of the Games organising committee, said some domestic spectators could be allowed into venues for the benefit of athletes, although he personally preferred a total ban on attendance in order to reassure the public amid widespread opposition to the event.
The number of medical staff necessary to service the Games, including doctors, nurses and physical therapists, had been lowered by about a third from the original target of 10,000 and 80 per cent of that new number had been secured.
“We’ve received double the number of expected applications from sports doctors when we asked for cooperation,” said Endo, one of seven vice presidents on the board of the organising committee and a former Olympics minister.
Organisers were working with 10 hospitals in Tokyo and 20 outside the city to respond to emergencies.
Doctors have warned the Olympics would pressure the healthcare system which is already under strain as Japan sees record numbers of Covid-19 patients in critical condition, although the pace of new infections has slowed. Only 2.4 per cent of the public have completed their inoculations, a Reuters tracker shows.
Endo said the organisers were working with the association of nurses to mobilise staff, including people who had the qualifications but did not work as nurses on a regular basis.
Polls show most people in Japan are opposed to holding the Games, concerned about tens of thousands of athletes, officials and media descending on the country, where last week a state of emergency in Tokyo and other areas was extended to June 20.