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Don’t postpone Rio Olympics over Zika, says expert

Wellcome Trust head says potential risks of contracting virus from going to Games do not warrant such a drastic move

Britain’s leading expert on the Zika virus yesterday rejected a call by 150 international academics for this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro to be postponed because of the dangers posed by the disease. Professor Jeremy Farrar, head of the Wellcome Trust, said such a move would be disruptive and completely unnecessary.

In an open letter to the World Health Organisation (WHO), released on Friday, the group of academics said the Brazilian strain of Zika virus harmed health in ways that science had not observed before. “An unnecessary risk is posed when 500,000 foreign tourists from all countries attend the Games, potentially acquire that strain, and return home to places where it can become endemic,” they added.

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