Rio de Janeiro, Feb 14 (IANS/EFE) Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said on Saturday that the Rio 2016 Olympics will go forward despite the Zika virus epidemic, about which a number of foreign sports delegations that have expressed their concern.
“We are certain of one thing: We will have the Olympic Games and we’re taking action to make sure of it,” Rousseff told reporters after visiting a community in Rio de Janeiro to launch a campaign of preventive action, and where she was asked about an eventual cancellation of the sports spectacular.
In reply, Rousseff said “Zika does not jeopardise the games”, and in combating the virus, “some cities will have priority like Rio de Janeiro”, which will host next August the biggest sports event in the world.
During the press conference, the head of state asked that more action be taken against the spread of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits dengue fever, Chikungunya and Zika, the latter associated by scientists with the current increase in the number of babies born with microcephaly, or abnormally small heads.
“We’re working with the University of Texas and in a joint action with the US government in an effort to make sure the research finds a vaccine as soon as possible,” the president said.
However, Rousseff added: “That will take a certain period of time and it’s not possible to wait (for the vaccine). So what are we going to do? We have to fight the mosquito because it transmits the virus. It is the vector. And for that reason we have to stop the mosquito from breeding. That above all.”
Rousseff’s visit to Rio de Janeiro is part of the National Day of Mobilisation for the Fight against the Aedes Aegypti, when under the slogan “Zika zero,” more than 200,000 members of the armed forces are taking part by visiting some three million homes in 250 cities, while 28 of the 31 ministers promote mosquito extermination around the country.