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  HOME | Sports (Click here for more)

IOC Rules Out Shifting Tokyo 2020 Olympics over COVID-19 Fears

TOKYO – The International Olympic Committee is not considering moving the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and has no “contingency plans” despite concerns related to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, its coordination commission head Johan Coates said Friday.

“There is no case for any contingency plans or for moving the games,” Coates said in a press conference in the Japanese capital after a meeting of the IOC coordination commission with the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee.

He categorically denied discussing any change in the program of the Games, which are set to kick off in Tokyo in less than six months. The COVID-19 outbreak that began in neighboring China has spread to Japan, with one death already registered in the country.

“We continue to work closely with World Health Organization and monitor the situation of the Chinese athletes,” said Coates, referring to athletes traveling to participate in qualifying events for the Olympics.

The outbreak of the viral disease was high on the agenda n the coordination meeting between the organizers and the IOC, which insisted that it had full confidence in measures taken by the Japanese authorities to deal with the epidemic.

The IOC representative acknowledged the difficulties Chinese athletes could face in participating in upcoming international competitions as well as the Tokyo Games, but added that many of the athletes were already abroad in training for the Olympics and should not have problems.

A special case is that of athletes or people from Hubei – the Chinese province at the epicenter of the outbreak – who could be denied entry in Japan, as currently the Japanese authorities have banned the entry of residents of the province or people who have traveled there in the last two weeks.

“We respect the measures taken by the authorities here,” Coates said, insisting that it was for the Japanese governments to take a decision in this regard.

On Thursday Japan reported the first death due to COVID-19 within the country, that of a 80-year-old woman who lived in Kanagawa, south of Tokyo.

Around 250 people in the country have tested positive for the disease so far, most of them passengers or crew of a cruise ship that arrived in the city of Yokohama and remains in quarantine.

 

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