It will be difficult for Japan to accept foreign visitors for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games due to the spread of the coronavirus, Japan Medical Association chief Toshio Nakagawa said Friday.

During a speech at a gathering organized by the Research Institute of Japan, a Jiji Press affiliate, Nakagawa said that “it is not possible to accept (foreign visitors),” considering the current state of the pandemic.

Nakagawa warned that medical systems are collapsing in many parts of Japan due to the resurgence of coronavirus cases.

He expressed concern that the number of patients will rise further if the Tokyo Games are held as planned.

“Many people would come from foreign countries, and even just the athletes” would mean a large number of arrivals.

Nakagawa refrained from commenting on whether or not he believes the Tokyo Games should go ahead.

On the spike in infections since the turn of the year, he said that “there may have been policy measures that led people to let their guard down,” apparently with the government’s Go To Travel campaign in mind.

“If infections continue to increase as they do now, we will be in a situation where we will have to set priorities on which lives to save,” he warned.

Nakagawa explained that the reason why private hospitals have been slow in accepting coronavirus patients is because smaller institutions with fewer beds for acute-stage patients are having a tough time securing doctors and nurses.

“As the medical sector, we are discussing with a sense of urgency specific measures to secure hospital beds,” he said, regarding a panel launched on Wednesday that includes representatives from hospital groups.

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