Oh Joy, The UN Is Asking If Zika Is Bad Enough To Call Off The Olympics

A little earlier today, the International Olympic Committee announced the first ever team comprised entirely of refugees. That is, objectively, great bloody news, and a massive symbolic boost to millions of displaced people worldwide. 

Still, after that groundbreaking announcement, it’s quite possible they won’t step foot in Rio Di Janeiro. 

That’s ’cause the United Nation’s World Health Organisation has finally gotten around to assembling a panel of experts to assess the risk of the Zika virus, and whether it’s worth holding the games as planned at all.

In case you’ve been tuned out to all news pertaining to booming mosquito-borne baddies in South America, the virus has been consistently linked to serious birth defects after contraction by pregnant sufferers. 

It’s also sexually transmittable, which is not ideal, considering the Olympics are well-known smang-fests. 
In a statement, WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan said “given the current level of international concern, I have decided to ask members of the Zika Emergency Committee to examine the risks of holding the Olympic Summer Games as currently scheduled.”
On four separate occasions, senior boffins at the organisation have traveled to Brazil to get a handle on the current risk to athlete and spectator health. WHO has already advised pregnant women to steer clear of the region in general, but they’ve only asked the experts to deliberate calling the Games off now. 

To really hammer home how seriously the WHO is taking it this time around, the investigation comes after the organisation recently swatted away a plea from 200 medical professionals to do… exactly what they’re doing now, actually.  

Chan said the experts will meet in the very near future, and their findings will be released ASAP. Just as well, considering the Games are still slated to kick off in August. 
Still, if they do need a replacement nation to showcase that brand new refugee team, who could they possibly pick…?
Source: ABC / The Age. 
Photo: Anadolu Agency / Getty.