Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Martin Luther King (1957-1968)

letter from Birmingham city jail, 1963

Coronavirus Olympics

Recorded: July 19th, 2021


Well the Tokyo Olympics get underway this week but there's already a growing number of athletes and officials testing positive for covid or being forced to self isolate. In the Olympic village 2 players and a coach from the South African men's football team have the virus. 8 members of team GB athletic's team are in isolation. That's after they were in close contact with positive cases. And the America tennis star, Coco Gauff, has announced she's not going to Tokyo after she tested positive. Well, despite the worsening covid situation and significant public opposition to these games the governor of Tokyo told the BBC it would have been worse to cancel. From Tokyo Rupert Windfield Hayes reports:

With 5 days to go the anti Olympic protests are not going away. This one is outside the hotel where IOC president Thomas Bach is staying. Their message to him is pretty blunt.

Over at the Olympic village 3 covid cases have now been confirmed. Across the city 14 hundred new cases on Saturday. Despite this, I sat down with the governor of Tokyo she told me the games must go ahead.

I believe that not holding the Olympics is even sadder than holding him during these dire times. I do not want to show the world that we have lost to Covid 19. There is still meaning in holding the Olympics in Tokyo despite the current situation.

This was Wembley Stadium in London a week ago. But with just 20% of Japanese vaccinated there will be no scenes like this in Tokyo's Olympic stadium.

Governor Kuike concedes if Japan had moved faster on vaccines things might have been different.

I agree. It would have been better. If we had a faster vaccination rollout we may have been able to have spectators at Olympics. But the speed of vaccine rollout has now increased immensely.

Not fast enough. This is Kyoto, Japan's ancient capital and number one tourist site. By now this place should have been thronged with hordes of tourists from all over the world. For Japan that was to be the big pay off. Invest billions and billions in hosting the Olympics and then millions of travellers will come from all over the world to your great cultural institutions spending lots of money. As you can see, there's nobody here.
Shop owners here have seen sales fall by more than 90%.

It is the government's fault. Look at the other countries like the UK and Taiwan. They seems to be doing well. But look at Japan. I cannot believe we call ourselves a developed country.

Back in Tokyo hundreds of athletes are now arriving each day. It is now clear that some of them will be carrying covid. The IOC's assertion that the Games represent zero risk to public health is already starting to look flimsy. Rupert Winfield Hayes, BBC News, in Tokyo.


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