WHO chief: We can beat Covid-19 if everyone plays their part

ZURICH World Health Organisation (WHO) head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a Tokyo Olympics Twitter message yesterday that Covid-19 can be defeated if everyone plays their part.

"Glad to be in Japan to address the International Olympics Committee (IOC)," Dr Tedros said in his tweet.

"I've come with a simple but urgent message: We can defeat Covid-19, but only if everyone plays their part.

"May these Tokyo 2020 Olympics be a source of hope and unity to achieve vaccine equity and end the pandemic."

IOC president Thomas Bach said Dr Tedros would be in Tokyo today to deliver a speech to IOC members.

The WHO has advised Japanese organisers and the IOC on measures to be taken by participants and at venues during the event, which runs from Friday to Aug 8.

As Tokyo is experiencing a fresh surge - with 1,387 cases recorded yesterday - public concern has grown that hosting an event with tens of thousands of overseas athletes, officials and journalists could accelerate infection rates in Japan's capital and introduce deadlier variants.

Organisers have promised to keep the Games "safe and secure" with an Olympic "bubble" that limits participants' movements and mandates frequent testing, but experts see gaps. - REUTERS