İrem UZUN -TDO- Olympic participants and fans arriving for next year’s postponed Tokyo Olympics are likely to face requirements to be vaccinated to protect the Japanese public, IOC President Thomas Bach said Monday after meeting with new Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
“In order to protect the Japanese people and out of respect for the Japanese people, the IOC will undertake great effort so that as many (people) as possible — Olympic participants and visitors will arrive here (with a) vaccine if by then a vaccine is available,” Bach said. “This makes us all very confident that we can have spectators in the Olympics stadium next year and that spectators will enjoy a safe environment”. Bach said it won’t be mandatory, but he left no doubt it will be strongly pushed. “We want to convince as many foreign participants as possible to accept a vaccine,” Bach added.
It is widely believed the Olympics will not be able to go ahead without a vaccine - and it could become only the fourth time in modern history that the event is cancelled. Three others were called off due to the two World Wars, in 1916, 1940 and 1944. However, Bach called next year's games a "light at the end of the tunnel" after the world's pandemic battle and pointed to recent sporting competitions in Japan as proof that events could already take place safely. Earlier this month, Tokyo hosted international gymnastics meet at which organizers tested a range of COVID-19 countermeasures.