John Coates, the head of the International Olympic Committee's coordination commission, said a vaccine for the new coronavirus is not necessary for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to go ahead next summer, Australian Associated Press reported Wednesday.
Coates, whose comments cut against the grain of those recently issued by infectious disease experts around the globe, said a vaccine "would be nice."
On Tuesday, Japan Medical Association President Yoshitake Yokokura said the games would be difficult to hold without a vaccine for the virus that has brought much of the world's sports to a standstill and forced a one-year postponement for the Olympics.
"I saw that opinion," Coates said, according to AAP. "But the advice we're getting from WHO (World Health Organization) says we should continue to plan for this date and that is what we're doing, and that's not contingent on a vaccine."
The Olympics are now set to start on July 23, 2021 and run through Aug. 8.
Yokokura said the ability to hold the games would depend not just on the public health situation in Japan but will be related to the state of infections abroad as well.