History of the Olympics
The Olympic Games are as old as the world itself. But, the modern form of the games began in Athens, Greece, in 1896. Since then, the competition is held every four years around the world. There are over 200 sporting events at the games, with more than 70 countries participating. As we count down to another exciting sports celebration, our author Kate Richardson looks at the state of things in the host country, Japan.
Pandemic Fears in the Build-up to the Olympics
With the digital clock counting down to the commencement of the largest sporting event globally, there is an absence of the usual excitement that comes with a big tournament like this one. The Japanese public remains largely opposed to the tournament amid fears that the entry of so many athletes, journalists, and officials will increase the number of Covid-19 cases in the country.
The biggest opposition to the commencement of the games comes from doctors, healthcare workers, and frontline medical workers. These groups worry that an increase in infections can overwhelm the Japanese healthcare system. Most of the nurses who asked to speak anonymously complained of the physical and emotional distress they are going through since the start of the pandemic. They mentioned that a significant number of their coworkers have resigned in the past year. Therefore, they believe hosting the Olympic Games is like celebrating the end of the pandemic when the situation in the country tells a different tale.
On the other hand, the International Olympic Committee and the games’ organizers remain committed to concluding preparation for the start of the tournament. At the moment, everything has been done to ensure the most expensive competition takes place, which will make it the second sporting occasion to hold since the global outbreak of Covid-19. Fans outside Japan seem to be in favor of the sports festival, with an ever-increasing usage of the betway app to keep track of the situation.
The State of the Pandemic in Japan
Since the pandemic outbreak in 2019, Japan has recorded more than 700,000 cases, and there have been over 14,000 deaths. Although these numbers are lower than what is recorded in other countries like China and India, the health care system has folded under three waves of the Coronavirus.
In March 2021, over 100 doctors resigned across the three hospitals managed by Tokyo’s Women’s Medical University. A year before that, over 300 nurses threatened to quit their jobs at the same hospitals because of the increased pressure that the company Pandemic brought into the country and the refusal of the hospitals to employ more staff.
In May 2021, hospitals in Osaka, Japan’s second-largest city were overstretched when bed use surpassed 100 percent for more than three weeks. The calls for the cancellation of the games have increased in the past few months. Hence, the reason the chairman of the coronavirus subcommittee said, «normally, the games wouldn’t hold under these circumstances”.
Although it is complicated to calculate the chances of a super-spreader event because of the games, most health care providers are scared that the pressure the competition will put on the healthcare system of Tokyo will be too much for the county to bear. But, the director of the intensive care unit of the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine hospital, Satoru Hashimoto, said, ” the risk is not as high as people, but an increase in the number of cases can lead to panic in Tokyo and overwhelm the hospitals in the city. An outbreak in the capital could spread to other parts of the county and cause the emergence of a fifth wave of the pandemic. It is not a scenario I like to imagine”.
The general idea of those opposing the start of the games in Tokyo is the fear of a new emergency. It has been difficult for Japan to get rid of the virus because the infectious diseases laws in the country vigorously protect personal freedom during national crises. In simpler terms, it is legally impossible for the government of Japan to legally order people to remain in their houses or implement the kind of lockdown imposed in other counties.
But, the emergency measures taken by the government have reduced the cases of infection across the country, with the number of the case less than 2,000 last month. So the easing of the Coronavirus measures few weeks before the games have brought uneasiness among the people.
Measures Taken Against Covid-19 Spread at the Tournament
Both the International Olympic Committee and the organizers of the competition, alongside the Japanese government, are putting anti-virus measures in most parts of the country.
- These measures include ensuring that everyone that comes into the country because of the games are vaccinated.
- Also, they are measures to limit human contacts at the events, with most journalists ordered to remain in the hotel rooms instead of going out when there is no sporting event to cover. Transportation has been arranged to take the officials and athletes from the stadia directly to their hotel rooms. This eliminates any attempt or opportunity to interact and mix with the locals. The organizers and the Japanese government believe that all these steps will prevent the 94,000 visitors of the tournament from making the number of pandemic cases in the country worse.
- Furthermore, spectators from outside Japan are not allowed to into the country during the games. Organizers ordered that only 50% of domestic ticketholders will be allowed into the sporting arena. Additionally, there is a rule book that contains all the laws athletes, sports officials, journalists are expected to follow.
- One of these rules includes daily testing for Covid-19 for all the athletes participating in the games. Further, a GPS tracker will be placed on all foreign media personal attending the Olympics to prevent them from leaving designated parts of Tokyo.
However, there are doubts about how these measures will work. It remains to be seen how the Japanese government and the Olympic planning committee will handle the situation. Nonetheless, countries are getting ready, and so are punters looking to make a profit on the betway app. More information about the Olympic games and governing rules can be found here.