International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has welcomed measures taken to tackle the mosquito-borne Zika virus.
IOC believes the spread of the virus across South America will not adversely affect the Rio de Janeiro Games in August.
Applauding the World Health Organization’s (WHO) declaration of the virus as international public health emergency, Bach said he was confident of athletes’ safety as they travel to Brazil for global sport’s showpiece.
“We welcome this decision by WHO because it helps raise even more awareness.
“The awareness provides even more resources to fight the virus,’’ Bach told reporters at the University of California, Los Angeles.
“We are in the close contact with the WHO and we see also that so far there is no travel ban being pronounced by the WHO.
“We also see that the Olympic Games will be taking place in the winter time which is not the preferred breeding time for the mosquitoes,’’ Bach said.
He said this after meeting with members of LA24, the group trying to bring the 2024 Summer Games to Los Angeles.
Rio 2016 organisers have said the Games, from Aug. 5 to Aug. 21, would be during Brazil’s winter months when a “dryer, cooler climate significantly reduces the presence of mosquitoes’’.
WHO Director-General Margaret Chan told reporters earlier on Monday that an international coordinated response was needed, though restrictions on travel or trade were not necessary.
The emergency designation was recommended by a committee of independent experts to the United Nations agency following criticism of a hesitant response so far.
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