Omi urges full anti-infection measures for games

The head of the Japanese government's coronavirus advisory panel has reiterated his call for full measures to prevent infections for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

Answering questions at a Lower House committee meeting on Wednesday, Omi Shigeru stressed the need to avoid putting extra strain on the healthcare system.

He suggested that the public would not tolerate forcing overwhelmed medical institutions to respond to infections caused by the games. He added that it is the duty of the events' organizing committee and Japan's government to prevent such a situation.

The organizing committee has yet to decide whether or how many spectators should be allowed at games venues.

Omi suggested that any decision on the matter should be made in a way that wins public support.

He also said he hopes to see the health ministry's expert advisory panel meet during the games and assess the infection situation and availability of medical care.

Some municipalities are moving to cancel public viewings for the games as part of efforts to prevent infections among crowds. In Japan, spectators at baseball, soccer and other sports events are already asked to clap rather than cheer.

Omi said public viewings would make people feel like cheering but that this can be done in different ways, such as while watching the games on TV at home.
He said infections are spreading considerably, and that the games would provide a good chance to try new ways of cheering.