Olympic chief calls for 'vigilance and patience' ahead of Tokyo Games

IOC chief Thomas Bach said that currently there is no reliable answer how the coronavirus situation will be on the eve of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

"We have to be vigilant and we have to be patient at the same time to take the right measures to ensure the safe participation of everybody in the Games,” Bach said.   -  AP Photo

Olympic chief Thomas Bach on Saturday called for vigilance and patience in preparations for the Tokyo Summer Games, postponed a year until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Bach was speaking after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) he heads and the World Health Organization (WHO), which is led by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, signed a cooperation agreement on promoting healthy society through sport and on contributing to the prevention of non-communicable diseases.

Asked how the IOC might manage sports at Tokyo involving human-to-human contact without a vaccine having been found by then, Bach said: “We're one year and two months away from these Games, and then we will take all the necessary decisions at the right time relying on the advise of the World Health Organization, discussing it on our joint task force.

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“But I think nobody can at this moment in time really give you a reliable answer on how the world will look like in July 2021.

“So we have to be vigilant and we have to be patient at the same time to take the right measures to ensure the safe participation of everybody in the Games.”

In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, which has killed more than 304,000 people globally and infected 4.5 million, the IOC in March took the historic decision to postpone the Games, scheduled to open in Tokyo on July 24, until July 23 to August 8, 2021. It was the first peacetime postponement of the Games.

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