Two-thirds of Japanese do not believe the country can host the safe Olympics amid a new wave of covid-19, according to a poll published in the Asahi newspaper just four days before the opening ceremony in Tokyo.
68% of respondents in the poll expressed doubts about the ability of the organizers of the Olympic Games to control coronavirus infections, with 55% indicating that they oppose their conduct.
Three-quarters of the 1,444 people who took part in the telephone survey said they agreed with the decision to ban spectators from the Games.
As cases of covid-19 rise in Tokyo, which remains in a state of emergency, public concern is growing that hosting an international sporting event with tens of thousands of athletes from around the world, as well as officials and journalists, could accelerate transmission of the coronavirus in Tokyo and to introduce new mutated strains of the virus into the country, possibly more contagious or deadly.
Olympic Committee officials announced yesterday Sunday the first cases of covid-19 between participants in the Games in the Tokyo Olympic Village, which is expected to host 11,000 athletes. As of July 2, the organizers of the Tokyo Olympics have announced 58 cases of coronavirus among athletes, journalists and officials.
Also yesterday, six British track and field athletes and two members of the British delegation were forced to isolate themselves after someone who was on the same plane with them bound for Japan tested positive for covid-19.
The latest wave of the Tokyo epidemic follows four previous ones, the deadliest of which was in January. A total of 1,410 new cases of covid-19 were reported in the Japanese capital on Saturday, most since the beginning of the year, with the number of new infections exceeding 1,000 for the fifth consecutive day.
Most new cases occur in young people, as most older people in Japan have received at least one dose of the covid-19 vaccine, although only 32% of the general population has been partially immunized.