Japanese healthcare workers have spawned plans to deploy 10,000 of the already overworked personnel during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as the fourth wave of Kovid-19 infections pushed the number of serious cases to a new record.
The organizers were planning to nominate about 10,000 health workers at the Olympic Village and the venues of the competitions and to complete mandatory daily tests and treat potential coronovirus cases among participants.
Last week, organizers asked the Japanese Nursing Association for 500 nursing professionals to work “voluntarily” at the Olympics, which proved to be the last straw.
Healthcare unions and professionals on social media denounced that “nurses are not disposable pieces” and that “we, nurses, are desperate to protect our patients,” messages that were shared by thousands of users.
The hashtag became a trend on Twitter in Japan against sending nurses to the Olympics and promoters called it a “virtual protest”.
The Japan Federation of Medical Workers Unions issued a statement on Friday demanding the organizers’ request be rescinded.
“I think there is a strong anger against the urge for patients and health professionals to hold the Olympics despite the risks to their lives and health,” said General Secretary of the Federation, Susumu Morita.
Many Japanese provinces, including Osaka and Aichi, are struggling with a shortage of medical staff, many of whom have contracted coronovirus.
Some other health care workers have quit their jobs due to harsh conditions, including crossing the legal limit of night shifts.
The current lack of personnel and backlash forced the organizers to change their initial plans for most health care workers on a voluntary basis.