Tokyo Olympic Games must be held regardless of the status of Covid-19, says Japanese minister

Tokyo Olympic Games must be held regardless of the status of Covid-19, says Japanese minister

Japanese minister Seiko Hashimoto says the hosting country is planning for the Tokyo Olympic Games next year, whether the vaccine is widely available  or not.

Seiko Hashimoto has said, that the Tokyo Olympics must be held “at any cost”, as organizers go on to weigh up options for staging a post-pandemic celebration of sport in Tokyo next summer.

She told reporters on Tuesday that everyone involved with the Games is working hard together to prepare and all athletes are also making great efforts towards next year. She wants to concentrate all of their efforts on measures against the coronavirus.

She suggested the priority had changed from planning for the complete Games into an event that would be able to enable athletes to compete regardless of the status of the world health crisis.

There remains a growing belief within the national Olympic committees that the events will happen following lengthy discussions about how they can be held safely.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games were suspended in March when the Covid-19 pandemic started its rampage through the US, Europe, India, Brazil, and other parts around the world.

Health experts warn that a vaccine seems not to be widely available by the time the opening ceremony is planned to take place on 23 July 2021. As a result, a task force of organizers, health experts, national and local government officials met last week to discuss about anti-virus measures.

The group, expected to release an interim report at the end of the year, is sifting through over 200 proposals on how best to prevent an Olympic-related outbreak at the same time enabling about 11,000 athletes from over 200 countries to travel to Japan.

The Tokyo chief executive, Toshiro Muto, insisted Last week that the Olympic Games must be held even if a vaccine was unavailable since a vaccine is not a requirement. However, if vaccines are developed, they will really appreciate it and that would be great for the Olympics.

Although it is possible to reduce the risks to athletes, it is much harder in terms of ensuring the safety of huge numbers of spectators from overseas.

Pakistan eases restrictions, small businesses reopen

Pakistan eases restrictions, small businesses reopen

Small shops and markets reopen across Pakistan after the government relaxed coronavirus restrictions due to the virus’ economic impact.

Pakistan further relaxed coronavirus restriction on Monday in order to open small shops and markets across the country in spite of a sharp rise in COVID-19 infected cases.

According to the government officials, all the small shops, markets, and allied industries of the construction sector reopened on Monday under a federal government announcement last week.

Ajmal Khan Wazir, spokesman of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, said that as part of the government decision, all small shops and markets will reopen from morning to evening for four days per week.

Wazir requested the public to follow standard methods to prevent the coronavirus’ spread.

Last Thursday, Prime Minister Imran Khan also announced a gradual exit from the nationwide lockdown in spite of an increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

Prime Minister Khan said that the nationwide lockdown has badly hurt small businessmen, laborers, and the general public. He added that the country’s tax revenues dropped 35% while exports also fell because of the lockdown.

However, the government still extended the closure of education institutions in the whole country until July 15.

In March, the country imposed a nationwide lockdown, closing markets, shops, shopping centers, and offices except for emergency services, as parts of a desperate move in order to curb surging coronavirus cases.

Last month, Prime Minister Khan announced the reopening of “low-risk” industries, such as agriculture, e-commerce, paper and packaging, construction, to stem a deepening economic meltdown due to the virus.

The government also allowed prayer in mosques for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Pakistan, the second worst-hit country in the region after India, has climbed to 30,931, according to the Health Ministry. The death toll in the country also risen to 667.

Meanwhile, 8,212 people have recovered and discharged from the hospitals.

Globally, there have been more than 4.1 million cases of the coronavirus, along with about 283,000 deaths and more than 1.4 million recoveries, according to data compiled by the Johns Hopkins University.

COVID-19 vaccine trials might be completed by mid-August

COVID-19 vaccine trials might be completed by mid-August

Trials for a coronavirus vaccine could be done by mid-August, a key adviser to the US government has said.

John Bell, a member of the US government’s coronavirus vaccine task force, said that human test trials for a coronavirus vaccine had started at Oxford University this week.

But he stressed that the real question was whether the vaccine would be effective, not when it would become available. It will only be tested when we have vaccinated a significant number of people and exposed them to the COVID-19 and counted how many people have got COVID-19 in that population.

However, he also said if things go on course and it does have efficacy, it might be possible that their team would be able to complete the trial by mid-August.

Bell added that after a wide range of safety studies, a candidate vaccine tested at Oxford had gone “into man” for the first time last Thursday. If there will be any evidence of a strong immune response by the end of May, then the next step would be the massive issue of how they would manufacture at scale many billions of doses.

The comments came under mounting pressure on the US government to provide frontline staff in hospitals and care homes with personal protective equipment after it emerged that doctors and nurses have been asked by the NHS to work without protective full-length gowns as treating COVID-19 patients.

The chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, said that some trusts will run out of supplies on this weekend since the national stock of protective full-length gowns was now exhausted.

The business secretary, Alok Sharma, announced on Friday details of cash grants for vaccines and potential treatment research, which the government hopes to be regularly given to healthcare staff and other high-risk groups in order to provide protection over some weeks or months.

There are at least 56 NHS workers having died from COVID-19. The actual number of healthcare staff to have lost their lives seems to be much higher since not all deaths will be in the public domain.