Economic activity needs to stop for Olympics to go ahead: Study

Study conducted by two University of Tokyo professors claims strict restrictions on movement of people, including ceasing of economic activity, during Olympics and Paralympics could reduce spread of Covid-19 to near same level if the two events were to be called off.

There have been demands for cancellation of Olympics and Paralympics over fears of spreading Covid-19. But the study says Games can go ahead provided severe restrictions are implemented.

‘If people’s movements at the events were restricted to a level where all economic activity ceased, the number of daily new Covid-19 cases would reach a peak of 842, according to the researchers,’ said a report in Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun.

‘If the Olympic and Paralympic Games are called off, the study put the daily count of new cases at 822 in the middle of October (peak),’ the report added.

Taisuke Nakata, an associate professor of public policy, and Daisuke Fujii, a project assistant professor of economics, said that crowding in Tokyo would cause far more new Covid-19 cases than the arrival of over 100,000 (one lakh) people from abroad for the two events.

Besides 15,000 athletes, 78,000 officials and workers are expected to arrive from abroad for the Olympics (July 23 to August 8) and Paralympics (August 24 to September 5).

‘They (researchers) said key to stemming spread of novel coronavirus is to significantly curb movements of people by avoiding holding public-viewing gatherings and other events during the sports extravaganzas,’ added the report.