World Health Organisation say staging Olympics in 2021 'won't be easy'
Last Updated: 16/05/20 2:12pm
The head of the World Health Organization has said "it will not be easy" to make next year's Tokyo Olympics a safe global gathering after the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at a joint news conference with the IOC, the WHO's director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for national unity and global solidarity to fight the coronavirus outbreak ahead of the Olympics, which hopes to bring athletes from more than 200 countries to Japan.
"We hope Tokyo will be a place where humanity will gather with triumph against COVID," Tedros said. "It is in our hands, but it is not easy. If we do our best, especially with national unity and global solidarity, I think it's possible."
Around 11,000 athletes from more than 200 teams are due to compete at the Tokyo Olympics and most would be joined by team officials staying in an athletes' village complex of 5,600 apartments at Tokyo Bay.
Health experts, including in Japan, have questioned how the 33-sport Olympics can be run before an effective global vaccine program is in place.
"Nobody can at this moment in time really give you a reliable answer on how the world will look like in July 2021," IOC president Thomas Bach said.
"It is too early to start speculation on different scenarios and what it may need at the time to guarantee this safe environment for all participants."
Tedros and Bach signed a renewed working agreement between the two organisations, which aims to help promote sport to governments as part of an active and healthy lifestyle.