Pandemic worries Tokyo Oly volunteers

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More than 60 percent of the volunteers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics are “worried or anxious” about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Games, a survey has found.

Japanese state broadcaster NHK said on Friday that Tokyo 2020 organisers conducted the survey this month of volunteers who will be working mainly at event sites, reports Xinhua news agency.

About 26,000 out of the 80,000 people who have signed up responded to the survey which allowed multiple answers for each question.

Asked what their main causes of worry or anxiety about the Games were, 66.8 per cent said they were how the pandemic will affect the format of the event and how infection preventive measures will be carried out during the Games, NHK said.

Thirty-four per cent also said that they did not have much opportunity to know about their work because their training had been postponed.

Some commented that they were worried about the risk of infection when they work as volunteers. Others mentioned uncertainty over whether the Games will actually be held.

On Thursday, the organising committee began asking volunteers if they still want to work at the Games, which have been rescheduled for July 23 to August 8, 2021. The Tokyo metropolitan government on Thursday confirmed a fresh single-day record of 367 new cases of the novel coronavirus.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said that the Japanese capital is “facing a critical situation” and is “on the verge of an explosive increase of infections”.

New daily infections in the capital of 14 million have topped the 200-mark on nine of the past 10 days, with the cumulative total on Wednesday reaching 12,228 infections, of which around 50 per cent were confirmed in this month alone.

Koike said Wednesday that containing the spread of the new coronavirus in the Japanese capital is the very first step towards the successful hosting of the postponed Olympics and Paralympics next summer.

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