With Japan hosting the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in July, their Organizing Committee is “seriously concerned” about the fast-spreading coronavirus and its impact on the quadrennial event this summer.
The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak is an ongoing viral epidemic affecting mostly Mainland China. Nearly 35,000 people have contracted the virus, with 720 having died from it. The deadly virus is spreading all over the world and already 28 other countries and territories, as well as the United States, have been influenced by it.
Japan has had no reported deaths so far, however, 89 cases have been confirmed, including at least 20 people on a cruise ship carrying more than 3,700 passengers and crew quarantined off Yokohama. And a few days ago, numerous olympic qualifying events such as boxing and badminton were forced to reschedule due to concerns about the virus.
Japan has warned its citizens against non-essential travel to China and fast-tracked new rules including limitations on those trying to enter the country as a means of containing the spreading of the virus.
On Thursday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that preparations for the Olympics would proceed as normal.
“The coronavirus is beginning to have an impact on tourism, but the government will continue to steadily prepare for the Games in close cooperation with the IOC (International Olympic Committee), the local organising committee and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.”
Japan is also seeking aid from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and their medical experts to collectively look into minimizing the effect of the extremely contagious virus.
An IOC spokesperson said:
“Countermeasures against infectious diseases constitute an important part of Tokyo 2020’s plans to host a safe and secure Games. Tokyo 2020 will continue to collaborate with all relevant organizations which carefully monitor any incidence of infectious diseases and will review any countermeasures that may be necessary with all relevant organizations. Preparations for Tokyo 2020 continue as planned and we look forward to returning for the next Project Review in February.”
All sporting events in China have been canceled and are in the process of being rescheduled. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are still on schedule (for now) to begin on July 24 with the Paralympics starting on August 25.