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Japanese government sending “inconsistent signal” | ticker NEWS



Olympics host-city Tokyo, currently under its fourth state of emergency, has recorded a record number of fresh infections.

Tokyo recorded  2848 COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, the city’s highest daily tally since the pandemic began.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has again called on people “to watch the Olympic Games on TV at home” and to avoid non-essential outings.

Despite the surge in infections, the Prime Minister has also ruled out cancelling the Olympics.

Local media report that hospitals in Tokyo have been asked to prepare more beds for COVID-19 patients.

Japanese public health expert Dr. Kenji Shibuya has told Ticker News he is “really concerned by the current situation” in Tokyo.

He’s not convinced that Tokyo is equipped to deal with the rising case numbers.

“When I talk to my colleagues, and doctors working on the ground, they’re starting to be overwhelmed already so I’m really concerned by the situation.”

Dr. kenji shibuya

Tokyo is currently under its fourth state of emergency, which is set to run until after the Olympics finish.

The Asahi newspaper reports that three neighbouring prefectures are set to ask the government to declare states of emergencies for their regions, given the worsening situation in Tokyo.

Dr. Shibuya believes the decision to proceed with the Olympics sent a confusing message to the public about the need to stay home.

“Before the Olympics, the Government had not suppressed the transmission. Experts expected a resurgence but the government continued to send an inconsistent signal that people should stay at home, [while] people should also celebrate the Olympics,” he told Ticker News.

Has Japan’s Olympics “bubble” burst?

Games organisers have now reported 169 COVID-19 cases that are linked to the Olympics.

Despite concerns that the Olympics could turn into a super-spreader event, there are strict health protocols in place for athletes, officials and members of the media.

An IOC spokesperson says the public should be reassured by these anti-virus measures.

But Dr. Shibuya, who is a former director of the Institute for Population Health at King’s College London, says the isolation bubble system set up to control COVID-19 infections has “burst”.

“There’s a growing number of cases amongst athletes, delegates and journalists who are supposed to be within a bubble system. But in reality, there are quite a few holes in the bubble system. I think it has already burst.”

Dr. kenji shibuya


Team USA to require vaccination for 2022 Winter Olympians



Staff and athletes will be required to be fully vaccinated before the Beijing Winter Olympics, according to a policy announced by the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) announced the policy on Wednesday.

The USOPC won’t consider unvaccinated athletes for the Beijing games, who will need to provide proof of vaccination by December 1st. The Winter Olympics will begin on the 4th of February next year.

The Associated Press obtained the letter CEO Sarah Hirshland sent to athletes and staff detailing the decision to implement the policy for future Olympic and Paralympic Games, starting with the 2022 Tokyo Winter Olympic Games.

“Effective Nov. 1, 2021, the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee will require all USOPC staff, athletes and those utilizing USOPC facilities – including the training centers – to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19,” Hirshland wrote.

“This requirement will also apply to our full Team USA delegation at future Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Athletes will be given the opportunity to apply for an exemption, and Hirshland hopes most COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted in time for the Games.

“The stark reality is that this pandemic is far from over,” Hirshland wrote.

“This step will increase our ability to create a safe and productive environment for Team USA athletes and staff, and allow us to restore consistency in planning, preparation and service to athletes.”

The USOPC also revealed data on vaccination rates at the Tokyo Olympics via their website, with 83% of Team USA, and 86% of international athletes at the Olympic Village being fully vaccinated.

Athletes previously weren’t required to be vaccinated by the International Olympic Committee to attend the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, although they encouraged athletes to get vaccinated.

-by Parker McKenzie

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UEFA shuts down FIFA proposal



UEFA has urged FIFA to stop pushing its plan for a two-year World Cup and instead to engage in “genuine consultation” about reform of the international match calendar

FIFA is currently conducting a feasibility study into holding the tournament on a biennial basis.

(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

The proposal would signify a switch from the current four-yearly cycle. But FIFA has made no secret of its desire to switch to such a format.

epa08868644 A handout photo made available by FIFA of the World Cup Trophy during the European qualifying draw for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 in Zurich, Switzerland, 07 December 2020. EPA-EFE/Kurt Schorrer / HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

It follows Arsene Wenger, FIFA’s head of Global Football Development, says he was “100 percent convinced” to the switch.

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Major League Baseball has told a team to stop testing for Coronavirus



A Boston Redsox outfielder said that MLB told his team struggling with COVID-19 to treat symptoms, instead of testing

The Boston Redsox have nine players who have tested positive with coronavirus.

When questioned about the situation on WEEI’s Merloni & Fauria show, Refroe said the league had instructed the team to stop testing for the virus.

“MLB basically told us to stop the testing and just treat the symptoms,” Renfroe said.

“We’re like ‘No. We’re gonna figure out what’s going on and try to keep this thing under control.'”

When the bewildered host asked Renfroe to confirm if Major League Baseball had asked the team to stop testing, he confirmed “yes”.

Major League Baseball quickly released a statement to Julian McWilliams of the Boston Globe saying Renfroe’s claim was incorrect.

“He (Renfroe) is completely wrong and inaccurate.” the statement said.

The Red Sox are currently missing shortstop Xander Bogart, starters Nick Pivetta and Martin Perez, outfielder Jarren Duran, and closer Matt Barnes because of the outbreak.

The Redsox have released a statement saying they have followed league COVID restrictions, and will continue to test. The team is currently under the 85% vaccinated threshold to ease restrictions imposed by the league.

-By Parker McKenzie

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