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Rio 2016: Threats to the Games

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Cape Town - When the Rio 2016 Olympic Games opening ceremony gets underway at the Maracana Stadium on August 5, expect to be mesmerised by extravagant pomp and show. It promises to be a typically colourful and breathtaking display steeped in rich Brazilian culture. A carnival atmosphere will sweep through the host city and beyond, marking the start of a three-week period of sporting excellence and public revelry. Yet the palpable euphoria will betray a country’s collective apprehension occasioned by the numerous threats casting a pall over the Games.

The Zika virus

The World Health Organisation’s preliminary determination that health fears over the Zika virus were overstated and that there was no public health justification for rethinking the hosting of the Games was met with widespread outrage and incredulity. Public health care experts criticised the verdict as irresponsible, forcing WHO to make a u-turn last month and promise to conduct another assessment closer to time. 

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