By Duncan Mlanjira
In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is “accelerating”, the International Olympic Committee IOC has announced that Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021.
A joint statement from IOC and the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, including the Prime Minister of Japan, says the decision is to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.
“The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic Flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present.
“Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic Flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”
Bach was joined by by Mori Yoshiro, the President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee; the Olympic Minister, Hashimoto Seiko; the Governor of Tokyo, Koike Yuriko; the Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission, John Coates; IOC Director General Christophe De Kepper; and the IOC Olympic Games Executive Director, Christophe Dubi.
President Bach and Prime Minister Abe expressed their shared concern about the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, and what it is doing to people’s lives and the significant impact it is having on global athletes’ preparations for the Games,” said the statement.
In a very friendly and constructive meeting, the two leaders praised the work of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and noted the great progress being made in Japan to fight against COVID-19.
There are more than 375,000 cases now recorded worldwide and in nearly every country, and their number is growing by the hour.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is quoted by the international media as saying the COVID-19 pandemic is “accelerating” and that there are more than 375,000 cases now recorded worldwide and in nearly every country, and their number is growing by the hour.
Ghebreyesus said it was still possible to change its trajectory by going on the attack.
Through a virtual news conference, Ghebreyesus said it took 67 days from the beginning of the outbreak in China in December for the virus to infect the first 100,000 people worldwide.
In comparison, it took 11 days for the second 100,000 cases and just four days for the third 100,000 cases and that the number of officially recorded cases is believed to represent only a fraction of the true number of infections, with many countries only testing the most severe cases in need of hospitalisation.
“We are not helpless bystanders. We can change the trajectory of this pandemic,” Ghebreyesus is quoted as saying.
He was also joined by FIFA president Gianni Infantino, Ghebreyesus compared the fight against COVID-19 to football tactics.
“You can’t win a football game only by defending. You have to attack as well,” Tedros said.
Physical distancing could buy time by slowing down the spread, “but they are defensive measures that will not help us to win,” he warned.
“To win, we need to attack the virus with aggressive and targeted tactics,” he said, reiterating a call for “testing every suspected case, isolating and caring for every confirmed case and tracing and quarantining every close contact.”
Ghebreyesus and Infantino launched a joint campaign aimed at spreading the message of how to protect against infection so as to “kick out coronavirus”.
In a social media video clip, football stars from around the globe spelled out five simple steps to take on “hands, elbow, face, distance and feel.”
Barcelona and Argentina icon Lionel Messi added voice to the preventive measures, saying: “For your face, avoid touching your eyes, your nose and your mouth. This can prevent the virus from entering your body.”
Samuel Eto’o, one of Africa’s greatest strikers, added: “If you feel unwell, stay home.”
Despite wanting to go on the attack, the WHO chief acknowledged that a number of countries were struggling to take more aggressive measures due to a lack of resources and access to tests.
Tedros praised the great energy being put into research and development to find a vaccine and of drugs to treat COVID-19.
But he said that “there is currently no treatment that has been proven to be effective against COVID-19,” and warned against the use of drugs not shown to work against the disease.
“Using untested medicines without the right evidence could raise false hope and even do more harm than good,” he is quoted as saying.
Among other things, countries are looking at using antimalarial drugs as a treatment against the new coronavirus.
The WHO boss said there were “alarming” reports of large numbers of infections among health workers.
Protecting them from the virus should be a top priority because otherwise “many people will die because the health worker who could have saved their lives is sick,” he said.
His Excellency the State President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika in his national address on COVID-19 last week.
“The Government expects that every Malawian will act responsibly in managing this pandemic even though the country has not yet registered any case.
Malawi President Peter Mutharika declaring a State of Disaster and set preventive measures directives in the absence of vaccine for COVID-19 and an Off-the-Counter treatment, raising awareness of the risk factors for the Coronavirus infection and protective measures individuals can take is the only way to reduce human infection and death.
He shared with Malawians some of the preventive measures as prescribed by global medical experts that include:
• Washing of hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser;
• Stoping handshakes
• Maintaining social distance with people;
• Not touching eyes, nose and mouth;
• Practising cough hygiene by covering mouth and nose with tissue or sleeve or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing;
• Seeking medical care whenever feeling unwell.