The World Health Organisation dismissed a petition signed by over 100 leading doctors seeking relocation or postponement of the Rio Olympics due to the outbreak of Zika virus in Brazil. WHO said the Games will not “significantly alter” the spread of Zika. Doctors argued that it is unethical as it poses an unnecessary risk to foreigners.

On Friday, 150 leading physicians, bioethicists and scientists from across the world wrote to the World Health Organisation to prevent the upcoming Rio Olympics from taking place in Riode Janeiro in Brazil. Citing public health concerns—there will be foreign nationals from each country residing in Rio—the body said an independent group consisting of health officials and members of the International Olympic Committee should review the situation.

The letter is signed by signatories from Brazil, Japan, Israel, Russia, Sweden, South Africa and the United States. Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University, said the petition aims at a “frank discussion among independent experts”. This letter was posted on Twitter and on Facebook.

The epicenter of the Zika virus is Brazil. The mosquito-borne disease affects pregnancies, causing fetal brain abnormalities. It is also linked to neurological disorders in adults. Zika is spreading through the world, with nearly 60 countries and territories reported to be infected by the virus.

An estimated 500,000 foreign tourists, athletes and spectators, are expected to travel to Rio for the Games this summer. The doctors argue that it causes the unnecessary risk of being potentially infected. If affected, the likelihood of the disease spreading and become an endemic increases.

There are certain countries were are taking precautionary measures before sending their athletes to Brazil. One such country is South Korea. A special Zika kit has been designed which is infused with mosquito repellent. The athletes will be forced to wear the long pants, long-sleeved shirts and jackets during all times.

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