Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games threatened by the coronavirus

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • The 2020 Olympic Games are scheduled in Tokyo starting from 24th July 2020. But due to coronavirus affecting the whole of Asia and Japan as well, it is not clear if the Olympics will be held on the decided date or will be postponed
  • IOC member Dick Pound said that if the virus is still spreading rapidly by the end of May, then this year’s Olympic Games will have to be cancelled
  • Coronavirus has also affected the World Indoor Championships which were scheduled for mid-March in Nanjing, China

Coronavirus cases surged in Italy, and France closed the world-famous Louvre Museum on Sunday as the deadly outbreak that began in China sent fear rising across Western Europe.

The number of countries hit by the virus climbed past 60, and the death toll worldwide reached at least 3,000. The 2020 Olympic Games are scheduled in Tokyo, Japan from 24th July 2020. But due to coronavirus affecting the whole of Asia and Japan as well, it is not clear if the Olympics will be held on the decided date or will have to be postponed. As of February 2020, the Tokyo marathon was canceled because of the virus.

Because of the coronavirus epidemic seemingly not slowing down, even organizers might be faced with difficulties in managing the Olympics in Tokyo.

Dick Pound (Senior international Olympic Committee member) said in an interview that “The committee is already discussing it and we have a 3-month window of time to decide whether to host the Olympic Games in Tokyo or cancel the event. The decision will be taking after seeing the status of the virus in the upcoming days”.

Pound also said that if the virus is still spreading rapidly by the end of May, then probably this year’s Olympic Games will have to be cancelled.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) originated in Wuhan, China. Since the first time it began spreading in December 2019, it has infected almost 80,000 people and more than 3000 people have died in China from the virus. 54 people in Iran, 34 people in Italy and 22 in South Korea have also died.

Coronavirus also affected the World Indoor Championships, which were scheduled for mid-march in Nanjing, China. Due to the virus epidemic in China, the Championships were postponed to 2021.

Pound said in his interview “You just don’t postpone something on the size and scale of the Olympics. There’s so many moving parts, so many countries and different seasons, and competitive seasons, and television seasons,” Pound told the A.P.

He said, “To move the place is difficult because there are few places in the world that could think of gearing up facilities in that short time to put something on.”

“Certainly the advice we’re receiving externally from the WHO is that there’s no case for any contingency plans or canceling the games or moving the games,” John Coates, the head of an IOC inspection team, said last month in Tokyo.

As of February 26, Tokyo Organizing Committee (TOC) CEO Toshiro Muto addressed Pound’s comments in a press conference with the A.P.

“Our basic thoughts are that we will go ahead with the Olympic and Paralympic Games as scheduled,” Muto told the A.P “For the time being, the situation of the coronavirus infection is, admittedly, difficult to predict, but we will take measures such that we’ll have a safe Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

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