Press release on the Zika virus
The Brazilian government regrets about the articles and reviews in the press that consider the idea of cancelling the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games because of the Zika virus epidemic. This is out of question. The Brazilian government is fully committed to ensuring that the 2016 Olympics run safely and smoothly.
The Zika virus is a worldwide issue. Brazil is doing its part and has mobilised massive international efforts in the fight against this condition. Concerted actions by the federal, state and municipal governments to combat the Zika virus and the actions taken by the Rio 2016 Committee, along with national engagement against the mosquito, will ensure the effective fight against Aedes aegypti, the transmitter of the virus.
In addition, the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be staged during the Brazilian winter, which is historically low in terms of rainfall and mosquito breeding.
The World Health Organisation (WHO), which is the relevant international authority to decide on any health-related issues, so far has not made any recommendations to refrain from traveling because of the Zika virus. Instead, the WHO has been explicit in stating that there should be no restrictive measures on travel or trade due to the Zika virus.
Likewise, the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) also stated on 1 February that, in compliance with the provisions of the WHO, there should be no travel restrictions to areas affected by the virus.
The Rio 2016 Olympics will take full consideration of the health of all participants in the greatest celebration in world sport.
George Hilton – Minister of Sport