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WHO still hopes Olympic Games can be held despite rising case numbers

The World Health Organization (WHO) still hopes that the Olympic Games can take place this summer in Tokyo, Japan, even though the number of Covid-19 infections is rising worldwide.

The World Health Organization (WHO) still hopes that the Olympic Games can take place this summer in Tokyo, Japan, even though the number of Covid-19 infections is rising worldwide.

“It is our hope that the Olympic Games can take place,” WHO Emergency Relief Coordinator Mike Ryan said on Friday.

At a recent tally, there were nearly 6 million new cases within the space of a week around the world, the highest level since the pandemic began.

“We have seen many other sporting events and leagues that have run safely over the last six months, without spectators, with special arrangements for athletes,” Ryan said.

He noted that the Olympic Games are more complex because there are so many different events. “It is a test of logistics, of risk management.”

“We have confidence that the IOC and the host city and the government of Japan will make the right decisions how best to manage the risks,” Ryan said.

He said WHO did not make recommendations on the maximum numbers of visitors. This would depend on the infection situation at the time, he said.

On Friday, Japan extended a state of emergency for the city of Tokyo for the third time, just two and a half months before the start of the postponed Tokyo Olympics.

The state of emergency for Tokyo and Osaka is to last until May 31 and will be extended to Aichi and Fukuoka prefectures, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said.

The IOC and Japanese organizers have repeatedly reiterated their aim to hold the Games postponed from last year despite the pandemic.

The organizers decided in March to ban overseas fans from attending the Games and they will make a decision in June on how many spectators will be allowed to enter venues.

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