Comparing the Olympic Games starting on Friday with the coronavirus pandemic, the head of the World Health Organization today called on governments, businesses and citizens around the world to unite “in the race” against covid-19.
“We are not in a race against each other, we are in a race against the virus,” said Tentros Antanom Gebregesus, addressing members of the International Olympic Committee.
“To succeed in these Olympics requires speed, strength and skill, but also determination, dedication and discipline,” he said, urging people to show the same principles and “beat the pandemic.”
At the same time, the head of the WHO criticized the inequality in the distribution of vaccines between countries, explaining that the covid-19 pandemic will end if the G20 economies show leadership skills and there is a fairer distribution of vaccines.
“Instead of being widely distributed, the vaccines were collected in the hands of a few lucky ones,” Tentros complained.
“The pandemic will end when people decide to end it. It is in our hands “, he underlined. “We have all the tools we need. “We can prevent this disease, we can perform a test to detect it and we can cure it.”
After all, the WHO Secretary General estimated that the Tokyo Olympics should be held normally to show the world what one can achieve by taking the right measures in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Tentros said people need the Olympics now “as a celebration of hope”. “The Olympics have the power to unite the world, to inspire, to show what is possible,” he said.
The Tokyo Olympics kick off on July 23 amid doubts about their safety, as tens of thousands of people from around the world are expected in the Japanese capital. The country, where about 34% of the population has received at least one dose of covid-19 vaccine, worries that the Olympics could be a source of coronavirus over-transmission.
The growing number of cases in Tokyo has cast a shadow over the international sporting event, which last year had to be postponed due to the pandemic and will take place without spectators this year.
Since July 1, 67 cases of covid-19 have been identified in Japan among those who have received accreditation for the Olympic Games, despite strict measures.