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IOC member: Cancellation of Tokyo Summer Games ‘essentially off the table’

A member of the International Olympic Committee said canceling the Tokyo Summer Games is “essentially off the table” even as Japan battles a wave of COVID-19 cases in major cities and the State Department warns Americans not to travel to the host nation.

IOC Member Dick Pound, speaking to CNN, pointed Tuesday to the “bubble” that will surround athletes and others who descend on Tokyo in late July.

“None of the folks involved in the planning and the execution of the Games is considering cancellation,” he said. “That’s essentially off the table. Whether there’s some huge event of some sort that we can’t anticipate that might intervene in the next 60 days, who knows.”

He said he couldn’t guarantee the games will be completely virus-free but highlighted safety measures.

“All the indications are that the bubble can be created and maintained and daily — or whatever the frequency of tests will be — will identify any indications that there may be some people having the virus that are there. They’ll be put into isolation right away,” Mr. Pound said.

Organizers delayed the games for a year as the coronavirus swept the globe in 2020.

As the U.S. and other nations begin to wrangle the virus, Japan’s vaccination campaign is lagging and cities like Osaka are warning of stress on their hospitals.

The U.S. State Department issued a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” advisory — its highest warning — on Monday, citing the uptick in cases.

A major doctors’ group in Tokyo urged the IOC to cancel the games in their city and a petition for cancelation received 350,00 signatures. There also have been street protests against the games.

Pound told CNN.

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