What's the story?
Tokyo Olympics 2020 CEO Yoshiro Mori has stated that they are not even considering postponing or cancelling the games and blasted 'irresponsible rumours' for the same.
The coronavirus has become a matter of global concern. As of 13 February 2020, over 60,374 cases have been confirmed globally while 1,369 deaths have been attributed to the deadly virus. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the virus as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
Due to the epidemic in China, multiple sporting events were either cancelled or the venue was shifted from the country. These even include Olympic qualification events for basketball and boxing. Meanwhile, Formula One’s Shanghai Grand Prix has been postponed and several other sporting events are under threat in China.
There were rumours that the virus would also take its toll on the Tokyo Olympics 2020 with a possibility of either postponing the quadrennial event or scrapping it altogether.
The heart of the matter
Condemning all the rumours, Tokyo Olympics 2020 CEO Yoshiro Mori has confirmed that the Games will be conducted as scheduled between 24 July and 9 August.
Although the virus is fast spreading throughout Asia and there have been quite a few cases confirmed in Japan as well, Mori, during a meeting with other top Olympic Committee officials, said (as per Press Trust of India):
"With regards to the coronavirus... there are many irresponsible rumours but I would like to make it clear again that we are not considering postponing or cancelling the Games. We would like to coordinate with the national government and act in a calm manner."
Furthermore, Yuriko Koike, the governor of Tokyo has also promised that there will be 'thorough measures' in order to protect the people from the coronavirus with the Olympics starting just 162 days from now.
So far, Japan has not witnessed any casualties from COVID-19 but there have been 28 cases confirmed on Japanese soil with four people in serious conditions in hospitals.
However, in a massive single cluster - a total of 174 people were infected on a cruise ship floating off Japan's coast, which also includes a quarantine officer.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has faced heavy criticism and his government called too lax in handling the whole situation and the early stages of the epidemic.
Saburo Kawabuchi, the mayor of the Olympic Village, added during the meeting that there was 'still no clue as to when the virus will be resolved'. He pinned his hopes on high humidity in the coming months to kill off the virus.
Nearly five million people will be visiting Japan during the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Even though the Games CEO Yoshiro Mori has said the schedule will not be affected by the virus, it remains to be seen to what extent the epidemic affects the world in the coming months.