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Japanese health officials says it will be 'difficult' to hold Olympics in 2021 without a vaccine

Japanese health officials says it will be 'difficult' to hold Olympics in 2021 without a vaccine
Posted at 9:42 AM, Apr 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 09:42:06-04

TOKYO — The head of Japan’s medical association thinks it will be difficult to hold the Olympics without an effective coronavirus vaccine.

“I hope vaccines and drugs will be developed as soon as possible,” Japan Medical Association President Yoshitake Yokokura said Tuesday.

Japan and the International Olympic Committee agreed to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games until July next year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Japan is under a monthlong state of emergency amid a rapid increase of infections throughout the country, where hospitals are overburdened.

Yokokura did not say whether he opposes the Olympics without a vaccine.

“The key is a situation with the infections at that point. If the infections are under control only in Japan, it will still be difficult to hold the games unless the pandemic is over in the rest of the world,” he said.

Experts have said it could take 12-18 months or longer to develop a vaccine that is safe and effective for clinical use.

Japan has 13,576 reported virus cases, plus 712 others from a cruise ship quarantined near Tokyo earlier this year, with 389 deaths, the health ministry said Tuesday.

Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering