Coronavirus Puts Olympic Games Organisers on their Toes
By Samuel Victor Akpan
Organisers of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics are sweating over the impact coronavirus could have on the games.
Japan is “seriously concerned” about the spread of the virus, after 10 cases were confirmed on a cruise ship that was quarantined in the country.
But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is assuring that the government will do all it can to reduce any impact the disease could have on the competition, which starts on July 24.
The Chief Executive of the organizing committee, Toshiro Muto is hopeful the disease will be eradicated quickly.
"We are extremely worried in the sense that the spread of the infectious virus could pour cold water on momentum for the Games," he said.
However, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) says it is collaborating with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other experts and is confident all measures to address the situation will be taken by the authorities.
"Preparations for Tokyo 2020 continue as planned and we look forward to returning for the next Project Review in February," said an IOC spokesperson.
"Tokyo 2020 will continue to collaborate with all relevant organisations which carefully monitor any incidence of infectious diseases”.
The highly contagious coronavirus first appeared in China in December 2019. Some sporting events in the country, including the World Athletics Indoor Championships, the Chinese domestic football season and golf's LPGA event on Hainan Island, have either been cancelled or postponed.
There are currently more than 24,000 cases out of which 3,223 are critical. There are at least 493 deaths and a thousand recoveries.