WHO chief says all must play part to beat COVID in Olympics message

FILE PHOTO: Bilateral meeting on the sidelines of annual World Health Assembly in Geneva
FILE PHOTO: World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a bilateral meeting with Swiss Interior and Health Minister Alain Berset on the sidelines of the opening of the 74th World Health Assembly at the WHO headquarters, in Geneva, Switzerland May 24, 2021. Laurent Gillieron/Pool via REUTERS

July 20, 2021

ZURICH (Reuters) – World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a Tokyo Olympics Twitter message on Tuesday that COVID-19 can be defeated if all play their part.

“Glad to be in Japan to address the International Olympics Committee,” Tedros said in his tweet. “I’ve come with a simple but urgent message: we can defeat COVID-19, but only if everyone plays their part.

“May these Tokyo 2020 Olympics be a source of hope and unity to achieve vaccine equity and end the pandemic.”

IOC President Thomas Bach had said earlier that Tedros would be in Tokyo on Wednesday and deliver a speech to IOC members.

The WHO has advised Japanese organisers and the IOC on health measures to be taken by participants and at venues during the event from July 23 to August 8.

Earlier this month, Maria van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead on COVID-19, told reporters it was urging organisers to take precautions to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

(Reporting by John Revill, editing by Silke Koltrowitz and Michael Shields)