The director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that the mark of success of the Olympic Games would not be zero Covid-19 cases, but that they "are identified, isolated, traced and cared for as quickly as possible, and onward transmission is interrupted" and called for applying the Olympic motto of "faster, higher, stronger – together" to vaccination campaigns.
"In the 125-year history of the modern games, they have been held in the shadow of war, economic crisis and geopolitical turmoil," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in his keynote speech at the 138th International Olympic Committee (IOC) session in Tokyo.
"But never before have they been organized in the shadow of a pandemic. And although Covid-19 might have postponed the games, it has not defeated them," he added.
"Over the next two weeks, and for the Paralympic Games next month, those plans and precautions will be put to the test. It is my sincerest hope that they succeed – not only for the sake of the games themselves, and the safety of the athletes, trainers and officials – but as a demonstration of what is possible with the right plans and the right measures," the WHO chief told IOC members ahead of the Games that will kick off on Friday.