Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games: Coronavirus update

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There are some doubts surrounding this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo due to Japan being in close proximity to China, where the Coronavirus originated and is currently, most deadly.

The Olympics is the biggest sporting event of the year and officials and fans across the world will of course, be wanting the spectacle to still go ahead as planned in 140 days time.

They are hoping that the virus will be better contained by the summer and so for now, the games are in place for the usual slot of July though to August.

It is probable however, if the virus developed into a threatening pandemic, that the Olympics would have to be called off.

The Olympic torch relay, which was due to begin on March 26th, has been pushed back, but there are no plans to cancel the tradition.

Public health director for London 2012, Dr Brian McCloskey, said that as of right now, Tokyo 2020 is unlikely to be cancelled.

“There was a clamour for the 2016 Games to be called off because of the Zika virus outbreak, but they went ahead without any problems,” McCloskey said.

“The Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010 were during the 2009 pandemic flu season also and again they went ahead and created no particular problems.

“So, there is good precedent for saying these things can be done safely during a public health emergency but it’s important to keep the risks under review,” he added.

The Olympic games has never been cancelled or postponed due to anything other than war, so doing so because of a virus this would be unprecedented.

It would be an expensive decision to take too, as communicable diseases would form part of the insurance policy for Tokyo 2020, at a premium of about £300m.

There have been 4.5m tickets sold for the Games in Japan over 80 million further requests, according to the IOC.

A statement from them read: “Tokyo 2020 will continue to collaborate with all relevant organisations and will review any countermeasures that may be necessary with all relevant bodies.

“We have full confidence that the relevant authorities, in Japan and China, will take all the necessary measures to address the situation. The rest is speculation.”

Written by Richard Phelps

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