IOC says Olympics will not be delayed despite fears over Zika virus

A Canadian professor has warned that the 500,000 people expected in Rio for the Games would cause the epidemic to spread

Zika, Brazil Olympics,

Image: Leo Correa / AP/Press Association Images

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has confirmed that it will not cancel, delay or move the Rio Olympic Games because of the Zika virus threat.

This follows calls by Canadian health Professor Amir Attaran for the Games to be postponed or moved, claiming that the influx of visitors to Brazil would result in the avoidable births of babies with disabilities.

Writing in the Harvard Public Health Review, Attaran warned that the 500,000 visitors expected during the course of the games would result in outbreaks of the disease elsewhere around the globe. 

"If the IOC and the World Health Organization do not have the generosity of heart to delay the games to prevent children being born and disabled their whole lives, then they're among the cruelest institutions in the world," Attaran told AP

Head of the Department of Tropical Medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons, Professor Sam McConkey, says that people need to be extremely cautious, stating that "people who are thinking of becoming pregnant, including perhaps male partners of people who may become pregnant, should not be travelling to Brazil".

While the IOC has stated that it would not be canceling or postponing the games as a result of concerns over the disease, it said it would continue to monitor the situation closely.