The regional Olympics are scheduled to take place in Hanoi and 11 other locations, including some of the areas currently experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, from November 21 to December 2.
However, Vietnam is reportedly considering moving the 31st SEA Games to next year. The Vietnam Olympics Committee, as the host for SEA Games 31, has sent a letter to the participating countries proposing to postpone the event to July 2022 due to the ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, states Phap Luat Online.
The SEA Games Council, headquartered in Bangkok, will convene on Wednesday to discuss and decide on this matter, the report added. The Vietnam Olympics Committee has confirmed that a meeting will indeed take place on Wednesday, as reported by AFP.
Vietnam has seen a significant increase in COVID-19 cases since April, with the number currently surpassing 9,000. Although the figure remains relatively low compared to other Southeast Asian countries, the vaccination rate per capita in Vietnam is the lowest in the region and among the lowest in Asia, according to an AFP tally.
Several SEA Games events are scheduled to take place in provinces heavily affected by the virus, such as Bac Ninh and Bac Giang in the northeastern region. In fact, one venue in Bac Giang has already been converted into a field hospital.
Vietnam previously hosted the SEA Games in 2003 and has allocated a budget of approximately $69 million for the upcoming Games. The event is expected to attract nearly 20,000 participants, including around 7,000 athletes, from 11 countries, according to state media.
In addition to Olympic sports, the SEA Games is likely to include disciplines such as billiards and snooker, bodybuilding, chess, bowling, and kurash, an ancient form of Uzbek wrestling.