Tokyo Olympics 2020 organisers consider scaling down torch relay amid concerns over coronavirus outbreak
Tokyo Olympics officials are considering scaling down the torch relay due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, the chief executive of the organising committee said on Wednesday.
IOC member Dick Pound had recently said the Olympics would more likely be cancelled than postponed or moved from the city of Tokyo.
A Japanese government spokesman said IOC and local organisers are going as planned with Tokyo Olympics despite coronavirus threat.
The Tokyo Olympics are set to open on 24 July with 11,000 athletes. The Tokyo Paralympics will open on 25 August with 4,400 athletes.
Tokyo: Tokyo Olympics officials are considering scaling down the torch relay due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, the chief executive of the organising committee said on Wednesday.
The committee’s basic stance was that the Olympics and Paralympics would go ahead as planned, Toshiro Muto told reporters.
Japan has moved to quell fears that the Olympics might be cancelled after International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Dick Pound was quoted by The Associated Press as saying the Games would more likely be cancelled than postponed or moved if the virus forced any change in the schedule.
On Wednesday, a spokesman for the Japanese government said the IOC and local organisers are going as planned with the Tokyo Olympics despite the coronavirus threat.
The Olympics are set to open on 24 July with 11,000 athletes. The Paralympics open on 25 August with 4,400 athletes.
The viral outbreak that began in China has infected more than 80,000 people and killed more than 2,700 globally. China has reported 2,715 deaths among 78,064 cases on the mainland. Five deaths in Japan have been attributed to the virus and the COVID-19 illness it causes.
“With regard to this member’s comment, the IOC has responded that this is not their official position, and that the IOC is proceeding with preparations toward the games as scheduled,” spokesman Yoshihide Suga said, speaking in Japanese at his daily news conference.
IOC president Thomas Bach has said vaccination is not a requirement for athletes competing at the Tokyo Games, but that Olympic officials will encourage participants to get the jab.
Toshiro Nikai, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's number two, said the Olympics must be cancelled "without hesitation" if the virus situation is too severe.
Tokyo Olympics 2020: North Korea won't participate in Games over COVID-19 fears, says country's sports ministry
The North's official KCNA news agency had previously carried a dispatch on the committee meeting, without mentioning the Olympic decision.