Gov’t survey: 80% of volunteers for Tokyo Olympics concerned about COVID-19

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Oct. 21 (UPI) — Nearly 80% of volunteers for the Tokyo Summer Olympics and Paralympics next year say they’re concerned about how the city will handle the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a survey of 13,480 so-called “City Cast” volunteers conducted by the local government, 79% said they’re worried about the virus and 49.3% said they’re worried about how the postponement of the Games will affect their motivation.

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The 2020 Summer Olympics were originally scheduled this year from July 24 to Aug. 9, but were rescheduled to July 23, 2021, to Aug. 8, 2021 in response to the pandemic.

The International Olympic Committee and Japan said said the Games must be held in 2021 “at any cost,” but are planning a scaled-down affair to protect workers and visitors.

The survey found that 76.7% of volunteers said they want to know how to protect themselves from the novel coronavirus during the Games, and 58.6% said they’d like more preparation in dealing with emergency situations, such as the use of defibrillators.

Seiko Hashimoto, the minister for Tokyo’s Olympic Games, told Nikkei Asia on Wednesday that organizers will have to implement strict rules to keep athletes and spectators safe. She said athletes should restrict themselves to the Olympic Village to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“Protecting yourself will result in protecting other athletes as well,” she said.

Hashimoto compared the pandemic to the Zika virus scare during the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where Japanese athletes were told to stay in the village for their safety.

Olympic medals are unveiled at ceremony in Tokyo

Gold, silver and bronze Olympic medals are revealed. Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

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