BBC Sport responds to claims of journalists’ Zika fears

Stephen Chapman's picture
by Stephen Chapman

BBC Sport has issued a statement, following claims that “half a dozen” staff wouldn’t be travelling to cover the Rio Olympics, due to fears over the Zika virus.

One of those believed to be refusing to go to Brazil is sports news correspondent, Richard Conway.

Earlier this month, Conway reported on golfer, Rory McIlroy’s decision to pull out of the Olympics for the same reason. In the piece Conway spoke to the World Health Organisation’s Dr Bruce Aylward who said the risk of contracting the virus was “very, very low” - providing you took precautions.

However, there are genuine fears about the virus, which is carried by mosquitos and is linked to brain deformities in newborn babies. It has spread rapidly across South America and the Caribbean.

A BBC spokesperson said:

“We have followed guidance from the World Health Organisation, Public Health England and the IOC. All deployments to Rio are on a voluntary basis and all employees are provided with full information about the Zika virus, and the precautions they can take before making their decision.”

So far more than 20 male golfers have withdrawn from the Olympics.