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Tokyo Olympics: WHO chief Dr Tedros backs Games as Chilean taekwondo athlete tests positive

Fans will miss out on attending Tokyo Olympics
Dates: 23 July-8 August Time in Tokyo: BST +8
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The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has backed the staging of the Tokyo Olympics.

It comes as Chilean taekwondo athlete Fernanda Aguirre became the first Olympian to be ruled out of action.

Dr Tedros told International Olympic Committee (IOC) members that the Games should go ahead to show what can be done with the correct Covid safeguards.

“There’s no zero risk in life; there is only more risk or less risk,” he said.

“The mark of success in the coming fortnight is not zero cases, and I know that some cases have already been detected.

“The mark of success is making sure that any cases are identified, isolated, traced and cared for as quickly as possible, and onward transmission is interrupted. That is the mark of success for every country.

“The Olympics have the power to bring the world together, to inspire, to show what’s possible.

“It is my sincere hope the Tokyo Games succeed.”

Aguirre, 21, was due to make her Olympic taekwondo debut having won 57kg bronze at the 2019 Pan American Games, but she tested positive in Tokyo and the quarantine rules her out of her competition on Sunday.

Dr Tedros’ speech to the IOC general session came as another eight Games-related coronavirus cases were announced, taking the total to 79.

The opening ceremony takes place on 23 July for a Games which has been postponed by a year and will take place without spectators to minimise health risks.

But Dr Tedros criticised the vaccine discrepancies between countries, saying the pandemic could be ended if G20 economies showed collective leadership and there was a fairer distribution of vaccines.

“Instead of being deployed widely, vaccines have been concentrated in the hands and arms of a lucky few,” he said.

“The pandemic will end when the world chooses to end it. It is in our hands,” he said. “We have all the tools we need. We can prevent this disease, we can test for it and we can treat it.”


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