Pressure mounts to cancel Tokyo Olympics amid pandemic concerns

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The head of a major physicians' union in Japan is calling on the country to cancel the Summer Olympics, warning that the event could cause new coronavirus variants to spread globally. 

If held, the Tokyo Games would bring together tens of thousands of people from 200 countries. This could cause existing, more transmissible strains such as the South Africa or India variant to spread globally, Dr. Naoto Ueyama, chairman of the Japan Doctors Union, said during a May 26 news conference.

"We cannot deny the possibility of even a new strain of the virus potentially emerging after the Olympics as well," Dr. Ueyama said.

Japanese scientists and health experts have been calling for the country's government to cancel the Olympics, which were postponed last summer due to the pandemic, reports The Hill. Hill. 

Four U.S. public health experts said the International Olympic Committee's plan to proceed with the Tokyo Games "is not informed by the best scientific evidence" in a May 25 article published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The experts said urgent action is needed for the games to proceed and recommended the World Health Organization convene an emergency committee to help weigh in on risk-management measures. They said canceling the Olympics may be the safest option if such actions are not taken.

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