Japan’s top anti-Covid-19 authority criticized the presence of International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach at the opening ceremony of the Paralympics on Tuesday. For Shigeru Omi, head of the pandemic response subcommittee, the new trip to Japan was untimely.
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Thomas Bach, left, seated alongside officials such as IPC President Andrew Parsons and Emperor Naruhito at the opening of the Paralympics — Photo: MASAHIRO SUGIMOTO / YOMIURI / THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN VIA AFP
– I wonder why he bothered to come. You should show common sense. He already came here. Hasn’t he already been to Ginza? That’s what I think of as an ordinary person, not necessarily as a member of an expert committee. If he needs to do something, I believe he can do it online – he criticized during a parliamentary session.
This Wednesday Bach was also photographed in a rugby match and in a wheelchair basketball match. The criticism of the leader is mainly due to the fact that the number of infections in Japan is growing at an intense pace day after day since the start of the Olympics in July. The government extended the state of emergency until Aug. 22 and has been making daily appeals for the population to stay at home.
Bach arrived in Tokyo on Monday, following an invitation from the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to attend the opening ceremony. During his stay in the country for the Olympics, the German was also the target of criticism after being seen in an upscale shopping mall in the Ginza region, accompanied by security guards.
Thomas Bach attended basketball and wheelchair rugby matches this Wednesday — Photo: Getty Images
It was this episode that Omi referred to in his address. While the leader walked, the athletes and other members of the delegations were not authorized to tour the city and had to follow strict protocols.
Despite the appeals of health authorities, members of different spheres of the Japanese government maintain that the advance of the Covid-19 pandemic has no direct relationship with the Games, as the participants undergo severe control, with immediate isolation in case of Contamination.