Tokyo Olympics 2020 could be cancelled because of Coronavirus outbreak
In what is a devastating blow to the international sports community, officials have said that if the coronavirus outbreak is not under control, the International Olympic Committee could cancel the Summer Olympics in Tokyo altogether.
A senior member of the IOC said that if it proves too dangerous to hold the Olympics in Tokyo this summer because of the coronavirus outbreak, organisers are more likely to cancel it altogether than to postpone or move it.
The committee is planning to take the decision in May, which just about 60 days to the July 24 Opening Ceremony.
IOC member Dick Pound says Tokyo Olympic organizers have until late May to see if the virus is under control. If not, "you're probably looking at a cancellation." https://t.co/e90SS6Px8B— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) February 25, 2020
Dick Pound, a former Canadian swimming champion who has been on the IOC since 1978, said in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press:
“In and around that time, I’d say folks are going to have to ask: ‘Is this under sufficient control that we can be confident about going to Tokyo or not?’”
However, preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are continuing "as planned," according to the local organizing committee.
The committee told CNN it would "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. The rest is speculation.”
#breaking A 6th person has died of novel coronavirus in Japan -- as speculation grows over the fate of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. IOC member Dick Pound told the AP the games could be postponed. Tokyo 2020 tells CNN "preparations for the Olympic Games...continue as planned" pic.twitter.com/cvFRYLQdot— Will Ripley (@willripleyCNN) February 26, 2020
The number of deaths in mainland China from coronavirus infections has risen by 52 to 2,715, with confirmed cases of infection reaching 78,064, the country's health authorities said Wednesday February 26, 2020.
The United States' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that it expects coronavirus to spread in the United States and asked Americans to prepare for that eventuality.
CBS reports Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases said:
"Ultimately, we expect we will see community spread in this country. It's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness," she said.
Meanwhile here are the cases reported worldwide so far:
- Italy reported a 45% single-day increase in infections. Italian officials reported 10 deaths and 322 confirmed coronavirus cases.
- Several countries - Austria, Croatia, Switzerland, Algeria - reported their first cases, all involving people who had been to Italy
- South Korea is urgently trying to contain the largest outbreak of the virus outside China. The country has nearly 1,000 cases and 10 confirmed deaths from the virus.
- Taiwan confirms 32nd case of coronavirus.
- Thailand confirms 3 additional coronavirus cases, bringing total to 40
- Iran's health ministry says the virus has infected more than 90 people and killed 15.
- Iran is believed to have been the source of the first cases reported by neighbouring Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait and Oman.
- The total number of virus cases in the UAE so far is 13.