Tokyo – Some nurses in Japan have been requested by Tokyo Olympic organizers to send 500 of them to help with the Games. They say they are already near the point dealing with the coronovirus epidemic.
Olympic officials have said they will need 10,000 medical personnel to conduct the Games, and a request for more nurses comes amid a new spike in viruses with Tokyo and Osaka under emergency.
“Beyond anger, I was stunned by insensitivity,” Mikito Ikeda, a nurse from Nagoya in central Japan, told the Associated Press. “It shows how human life is being taken lightly.”
The appeal for more nurses is typical of the change that comes almost daily as organizers and the International Olympic Committee try to drag the sport into the midst of an epidemic.
The Olympics are scheduled to open within just three months, entering Japan – where international borders have been sealed for almost a year – 15,000 Olympic and Paralympic athletes and thousands of other officials, judges, sponsors, media And broadcasters.
In a statement by the Japan Federation of Medical Workers Unions, General Secretary Susumu Morita said the focus should be on the epidemic and not the Olympics.
“We should definitely stop the proposal to send Olympic volunteers as nurses who work to protect the fight against the severe coronovirus epidemic,” Morita said.
“I am extremely impressed with the urge to pursue the Olympics despite the risks to the health and lives of patients and nurses.”
A protest message that nurses opposed to holding the Olympics recently went viral on Japanese Twitter, which was retweeted hundreds of thousands of times.
Even before the epidemic, Japanese nurses were overworked and poorly paid compared to their counterparts in the United States or Britain.
Nursing is not only physically taxing, but also emotionally draining, said Ikeda, who has been a nurse for 10 years. He said that many nurses worry about being self-infected, with the vaccination rate being only 1-2% in Japan.
“It’s hard to go to any hospital without a single nurse, and they need 500,” Ikeda said. “Why do they think it is even possible?”
In Japan only 10,000 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19.
The British Medical Journal said last month that Japan should “reconsider” the Olympics, arguing that “international gathering programs … are still neither safe nor secure.”
Tokyo Medical Association President Haruo Ozaki has said that due to the outbreak of new variants it will be extremely difficult to organize the Olympics.
He also mentioned that Japan’s medical community has been enhanced by treating coronovirus patients and performing vaccine rollouts.
He said, “We have heard enough about spiritual reasoning about sports. “” It is extremely difficult to catch the game without exacerbating the transition both within and outside Japan. “
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihida Suga suggested that nurses who quit their jobs could help in the Olympics, although some resignations are tied to stressful work with coronovirus patients.
“I’ve heard that many people are taking time off, and so it should be possible,” Suga widely criticized last week.
Athletes will work in the “bubble” at the Olympics, held in the Athletes Village on Tokyo Bay, and roam in buses designated for the venue and training areas. Hundreds of rooms are also being set up outside the village to take the alleged sick.
Organizers will require daily testing for athletes and other participants, an important task for medical staff. This is also in contrast to how little testing is being done for the Japanese public.
Opinion polls show that 80% of Japanese want the Olympics to be canceled or postponed. The majority of the bill for the Olympics, officially estimated at $ 15.4 billion, falls on Japanese taxpayers.
Recently, opposition MLA Tomoko Tamura said, “The situation is very serious.” “Nurses don’t know how they can take care of this situation. It’s physically impossible.”
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Yuri Kagayam is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama
Yuri Kajayama and Stephen Wade, Associated Press