A Doctors group has said that hospitals in the country’s capital of Tokyo are already currently overwhelmed and ‘have almost no spare capacity’
People took part in protesting against the hosting of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in Tokyo on May the 17th
A top medical organisation within Japan has thrown its weight behind calls to cancel the Tokyo Olympic games, saying hospitals are currently overwhelmed as Japan battles a spike in infections of COVID-19 less than three months from the beginning of the Summer Olympics.
In an open letter to the nation’s Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, dated May the 14th and posted online on Monday, the Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association said that the hospitals in the host city “have their hands full and have almost no spare capacity”.
“We strongly request that the authorities convince the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that holding the Olympics is difficult and obtain its decision to cancel the Games,” the letter said.
This comes after the Japanese Prime Minister, said on Monday that he has never “put the Olympics first”, on the same day that an opinion poll has shown that nearly 60% of people within Japan want the Olympic Games to be cancelled less than three months before they are due to begin.
The association, which represents around 6,000 primary care doctors, made the appeal amid a jump in coronavirus infections that has resulted in a shortage of hospital beds within some parts of the nation’s capital and had stoked alarm across all of Japan.
On Friday Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga extended a third state of emergency within Tokyo and several other prefectures until the 31st of May.
But the Suga said that holding a “safe and secure” Olympic games was possible if tight preventive measures were to be implemented, including the necessary preventative measures to keep ordinary Japanese citizens from coming in contact with those arriving in the country for the Games.
A majority of the Japanese public, however, now oppose their country hosting the Olympic Games this year.
A weekend poll by the Asahi Shimbun daily found out that 43% of people surveyed want the Games cancelled, while 40% want a further postponement.
Those figures are up from the 35% who backed cancellation in a survey by the paper a month ago and the 34% who wanted a further delay.
Meanwhile, an online petition with over 350,000 signatures calling for the Games to be cancelled had also been submitted Friday to local organizers, the IOC and others.
The Tokyo Medical Practitioner’s Association, in its May the 14th letter, said that medical institutions dealing with the coronavirus would soon face the added difficulty of dealing with heat exhaustion within patients during the summer months.
And if the Olympic Games contributed to a rise in coronavirus deaths, it said, “Japan will bear the maximum responsibility.”
This comes after mountaineers and authorities at a base camp at Mount Everest in Nepal have said that they are seeing rising numbers of climbers with symptoms for the COVID-19 virus and rising numbers for positive tests, raising the fears of a serious outbreak at the camp.
Other health experts and medical groups have voiced their concerns over the Olympics, with Kyoto University professor Hiroshi Nishiura, an adviser to the government’s pandemic response, urging authorities in April to postpone the Olympics for a further year to allow more time to vaccinate the public.
Overall, Japan has avoided an explosive spread of the virus experienced by other nations, with 11,500 deaths recorded since the pandemic began.
But the government has come under sharp criticism for its sluggish vaccination rollout. Only about 3.5% of its population of about 126 million has been vaccinated so far.
Underscoring the challenges with the vaccinations, booking systems for mass inoculation sites being launched in Tokyo and Osaka, which started accepting bookings on Monday, were marred by technical glitches.