The volunteers and medical officers of the Tokyo Olympics, which is scheduled to start on July 23, are resigning from their commitments. More than half of the members of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly are opposing the Olympics’ start in July.
According to the NHK and Tokyo Shimbun on Thursday, Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee CEO Toshiro Muto announced that about 10,000 volunteers have quit as of Wednesday. Eighty-thousand volunteers were scheduled to help the Olympics in stadiums and an Olympic village, but now it is down to 70,000.
“Worries about COVID-19 is definitely one of the reasons,” said Moto on why volunteers have quit. About 1,000 people have quit as of February 23, and the number began to soar from the end of March when COVID-19 variants started to spread.
Not only volunteers but also a large number of venue medical officers (VMOs) in charge of medical support in each stadium during the Olympics have quit. They are supposed to oversee other medical staff deployed to each stadium. Over 40 VMOs were initially planned for the Olympics, but the doctors are resigning, citing their busy schedule. The organizing committee asked the Japanese Society of Emergency Medicine last month to recommend seven doctors to replenish VMOs.
Securing enough medical staff to help VMOs is another challenge. The NHK reported that the organizing committee seems to have only secured about 80 percent of its goal of 7,000 doctors and nurses.