Public/Global Health

Nurses in Japan push back on request to help with Tokyo Olympics

Nurses in Japan are pushing back against a request by Olympic organizers to help with medical care during the upcoming summer Games in Tokyo, The Associated Press reported

The nurses are reportedly upset about the request for 500 nurses to help, saying they're already near the breaking point dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

"Beyond feeling anger, I was stunned at the insensitivity," Mikito Ikeda, a nurse in Nagoya in central Japan, told the AP. "It shows how human life is being taken lightly."

The secretary general of the Japan Federation of Medical Workers' Unions, Susumu Morita, also released a statement saying that the focus should be on the pandemic, not the Olympics. 

"We must definitely stop the proposal to send as Olympic volunteers those nurses tasked with protecting the fight against the serious coronavirus pandemic," Morita said, according to the AP. "I am extremely infuriated by the insistence of pursuing the Olympics despite the risk to patients' and nurses' health and lives."

Olympic officials have said that they will need approximately 10,000 medical workers in all to help with the Games. 

Officials said recently that six more staffers connected to the torch relay have tested positive for COVID-19. 

The Tokyo 2020 games will begin on July 23 after being delayed a year due to the pandemic.

Japan declared a state of emergency last month for major cities and populations of Tokyo and Osaka to contain the fourth wave of coronavirus infections. Deaths attributed to the virus have passed 10,000 in the nation, according to the AP.