Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Smith Says Canadian Olympic Committee Watching Zika Developments Closely

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Smith Says Canadian Olympic Committee Watching Zika Developments Closely

Article excerpt

Smith watching Zika developments closely

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The president of the Canadian Olympic Committee said Friday that the organization is watching developments on the Zika virus front "really closely" with the Rio Games just two months away.

Tricia Smith said that COC chief medical officer Dr. Bob McCormack has interacted with the national sport community on the issue and is handling any questions or concerns Canadian athletes might have about the mosquito-borne virus. Zika has been linked to severe birth defects and possible neurological problems in adults.

"Ultimately it's the athlete's own decision about what they want to do," Smith said from Halifax. "But we're telling them that certainly we're following the World Health Organization recommendations and the Olympic committee medical officer's recommendations. We're really monitoring it on a day-to-day basis."

A group of 150 scientists recently suggested the Olympics should be postponed or moved because of the Zika outbreak. But the WHO said there was no public health justification to call off the Games and the IOC has repeatedly said the Olympics will go ahead.

However, the World Health Organization chief is planning to set a date next week to convene an expert committee to consider whether the Olympics should proceed as planned.

The Zika epidemic was declared a global emergency by the WHO in February. The Games are scheduled for August, when the risk of virus transmission is expected to be lower as it will be the South American winter and there should be fewer mosquitoes. …

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