Tokyo 2020: John Oliver criticises decision to allow Olympics to go ahead during pandemic

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US TV host John Oliver has criticised the decision to allow the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to go ahead during the pandemic.

Speaking on his HBO topical comedy series Last Week Tonight, the British-American comedian highlighted reports of the sharp rise Covid rates in Tokyo over the past week. 

“It has been a busy week,” said Oliver. “Very busy. In fact, on Friday, the Olympics opening ceremony finally took place in Tokyo, a year late and still under a significant cloud.”

He then played a news clip which stated that more than 60 people in the Olympic athlete bubble had tested positive for Covid.

“Yeah!” exclaimed Oliver. “And the truth is, it’s gotten even worse. Because as of Saturday, the current total of Olympics-related Covid cases is up to 127 – which really, shouldn’t be surprising. 

“The event whose central premise is basically ‘what if a bunch of hot people travel from all over the world to sweat, breath and f*** on each other’ turns out to be going exactly as you’d expect it to in a pandemic.”

Oliver also turned his attention to the UK’s Covid struggles, and Boris Johnson’s controversial decision to relax social distancing restrictions despite rising infection rates.

“Boris Johnson has faced significant criticism about this decision and has chosen to justify it like this...” said Oliver, before playing a clip of the prime minister asking: “If we don’t do it now, we have to ask ourselves: ‘when will we ever do it’?”

“I can actually answer that for you,” quips Oliver. “Later. Just: a later time. It’s so brazenly disingenuous to frame this as a choice between lifting Covid restrictions now, or never doing it.

“It’s the equivalent of someone saying, ‘If I don’t take a s*** now in the middle of this Apple Store, when will I ever take a s***?’ I don’t know exactly, but I do feel like there are a lot of other options available that you are choosing not to consider.”

Last Week Tonight airs in the US on HBO and in the UK on Sky. 

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