Medical experts unconvinced about holding Olympics; world leaders call for pandemic treaty

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TOKYO (AP) — The Tokyo Olympics open in under four months, and the torch relay has begun to crisscross Japan with 10,000 runners. Organizers say they are mitigating the risks, but some medical experts aren’t convinced.

“It is best to not hold the Olympics given the considerable risks,” Dr. Norio Sugaya, an infectious diseases expert at Keiyu Hospital in Yokohama, told The Associated Press. “The risks are high in Japan. Japan is dangerous, not a safe place at all.”

Sugaya believes vaccinating 50-70% of the general public should be “a prerequisite” to safely hold the Olympics, a highly unlikely scenario given the slow vaccine rollout in Japan.

Fewer than 1% of the population has been vaccinated so far, and all are medical professionals. Most of the general public is not expected to be vaccinated by the time the Olympics open July 23. Read more: 

Here’s an update on all developments. Scroll or swipe further for in-depth coverage.

  • Authorities in Berlin and Munich are again suspending the use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine for residents under age 60 due to new reports of unusual blood clots in people who recently received the shots, officials said Tuesday.
  • More than 20 heads of government and global agencies called in a commentary published Tuesday for an international treaty for pandemic preparedness that they say will protect future generations in the wake of COVID-19.
  • Syrian President Bashar Assad and his wife have recovered from COVID-19 and returned to their regular duties on Tuesday, three weeks after they had tested positive for the coronavirus, the president’s office said.
  • President Joe Biden and a top health official warned that too many Americans are declaring virus victory too quickly, appealing for mask requirements and other restrictions to be maintained or restored to stave off a “fourth surge” of COVID-19. The head of the CDC said she had a feeling of “impending doom” if people keep easing off.
  • America’s top dogs won’t have their pack of fans on hand at this year’s Westminster Kennel Club dog show. The club announced Monday that spectators and vendors won’t be allowed this year because of coronavirus limitations. No tickets will be sold.

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