Officials at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics said they were committed to ensuring that the games went a long way, despite the global growth of coronavirus and the cancellation of other high-level sporting events in Asia.
- On Tuesday, International Olympic Committee leaders were briefed on the ongoing measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 around the world, and then stated that they were fully committed to ensuring that the games proceeded as planned on 24 July to August 9.
- Athletes should continue to train normally, the IOC governing body said in a statement, adding: “The IOC will continue to follow WHO’s advice.”
- This comes after Japan’s Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto suggested that the ceremony could be postponed until later in the year, with the IOC merely calling for the games to be held in 2020.
- These latest comments come amid growing concerns about the global impact of coronavirus, which has already led to the cancellation of major sporting, commercial, technological, fashion and cultural events around the world, to contain the spread of the virus.
- Meanwhile, the World Health Organization said on Monday that it was in uncharted territory as the epidemic spread to about 70 countries, while the number of confirmed cases outside China, the epicenter of the epidemic, appears to be emerging faster than cases within this country.
- There are nearly 1,000 cases of coronavirus in Japan, including a group of 700 passengers on a cruise ship that was quarantined near Tokyo last month.
What to watch out for: The IOC was scheduled to hold a press conference at its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, later on Tuesday. A joint working group was set up last month between the IOC, Tokyo 2020, the Japanese government, the city of Tokyo and WHO.
Surprisingly: if the Olympics are eventually cancelled, that would be quite remarkable given that the previous cancellations were in wartime. The 1916 Summer Olympics in Berlin were cancelled due to World War I, while the 1940 and 1944 Games were interrupted due to World War II. Some 206 nations are expected to participate in the 2020 Games.
News: A series of global sporting events have been cancelled due to coronavirus concerns. For example, the 2020 World Athletics Championships in Nanjing, China, were scheduled to begin on March 13 but were postponed by a year, while the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai in April was also postponed.
Main Context: There have now been approximately 90,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 worldwide, while approximately 3,000 people who have contracted the disease have died. China, where the epidemic began late last year, has seen the highest number of infections, but hot spots have multiplied since then, the most severe being South Korea, Iran and Italy.