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Coronavirus

IOC VP: Olympics Held Despite State of Emergency

TOKYO — The IOC vice president in charge of the Tokyo Olympics says the games will open in just over two months even if the city and other parts of Japan are under a state of emergency because of rising coronavirus cases.

John Coates spoke on a virtual hookup with Tokyo organizers after three days of meetings. The Olympics are set to open on July 23. Coates says the Olympics will go on even if local medical experts advise against it.

He says advice from the World Health Organization assured him that “all of those measures that we are undertaking are satisfactory and will ensure a safe and secure games in terms of health.”

Recent public opinion polls indicate 60-80% of Japanese oppose hosting the Olympics. Coates suggested public opinion might improve as more Japanese get fully vaccinated. That figure is now about 2%.

IOC officials say they expect more than 80% of the residents of the Olympic Village, located on Tokyo Bay, to be vaccinated and largely cut off from contact with the public. About 11,000 Olympic athletes and 4,400 Paralympic athletes – who arrive in August — are expected to attend. No international fans are allowed.

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