Japan concerned by new coronavirus but won’t postpone Olympics

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic organisers are concerned about the implication
that the new coronavirus may have on the games but they are not intent on postponing the event.

The Olympic Games are set to open on July 24. Hundreds of athletes are anticipated to participate and thousands of people are expected to attend from across the world. The Paralympics will also be held in Japan in late August into early September.

The fast-spreading virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has reportedly claimed the lives of 490 people.

While organizers have no plans to scrap the event, some qualifying events have already been cancelled or relocated, including this week’s women’s basketball qualifiers which were moved from China to Serbia.

Toshiro Muto, chief executive officer of the games, said he is “seriously worried that spreading of the infectious disease” could dampen the momentum leading up to the games. Muto said that the Tokyo 2020 organising committee will work with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Japanese government and Tokyo Metropolitan government “to tackle this issue thoroughly”.

Countries including Japan have begun the process of securing their borders by denying the docking of cruise ships. Ten confirmed cases have since been reported from a quarantined cruise ship in the port city of Yokohama, 25 miles from Tokyo. Officials early this week have also confirmed that Chinese athletes competing in the games will undergo screening and will have to provide a medical certificate to ensure they are not contagious.