Despite Coronavirus, Tokyo on Track For 2020 Olympics

Published on February 20, 2020

Olympic organizers have confirmed that there are no plans to cancel or delay the Tokyo 2020 Olympics despite the outbreak of the Coronavirus. This announcement was made at a meeting for Tokyo organizers and the International Olympic Committee just hours before Japan confirmed its first Coronavirus fatality.

Along with this fatality, Japan has 74 confirmed cases. This national count; however, does not include the 700 confirmed cases on the quarantined Princess Diamond cruise ship docked at Yokohama, Japan. In Tokyo, Coronavirus remains a major threat. With health and safety as the number one priority, the committee is confident in its decision though. 

With more than 5 months to go before the Games begin, Olympic chiefs reassure that this virus will pose no threat.

“I want to again state clearly that cancellation or postponement of the Tokyo Games has not been considered,” Tokyo 2020 organizing president Yoshiro Mori stated in the press conference with the International Olympic Committee. Included at this conference was Dr. Richard Budgett, the committee’s medical and scientific director, who often doesn’t attend these inspection visits. These measures are being taken to assure the continuation of the Games is safe. The team then spent the following two days continuing to plan and address other details of this inspection. 

The Summer Olympic Games will be held July 24 through Aug 9, 2020.

This virus has infected over 70,000 people worldwide, killing nearly 2,000 with a vast majority of cases in mainland China. This widespread virus has taken a toll on the world of sports already, including the cancellation of almost all sporting events in China. The Chinese Grand Prix is just one example of this. The race was set for April 19 in Shanghai, which is only 500 miles from where the coronavirus epidemic began, Wuhan, China.

Despite bringing over 70,000 people to the event last year and an expected 100,000 this year, the race has been postponed without any sign of a new date. This is the race’s first postponement since 2011, which ultimately never went on to be rescheduled. The Hong Kong and Singapore rounds of the World Rugby Seven Series has also been rescheduled from April. The hosts will remain the same but the rounds will now take place in October 2020.

“The health and safety of our players, fans and everyone working on the event is always our highest priority. This prudent decision has been taken in order to help protect the global rugby community and the wider public and was taken based on the World Health Organisation and relevant public authority travel and health guidelines” the World Rugby Series announces. This is alongside many other sporting events worldwide being forced to make the same decision.

Although the Games are scheduled to continue as planned, there is still a chance that we will see an impact from the virus.

Due to the travel advisories in place, China faces the concern of a potentially impaired presence at the Games.

This is from the travel restrictions that may prevent athletes from attending Olympic qualifying events. John Coates, a member of the International Olympic Committee says he is expecting to receive updates from the Japanese Government, the Tokyo city government and local organizers in order to ensure the “necessary precautions are being taken.” (states ESPN).

The committee’s confidence is shown through their announcement Friday that there is no Plan B set regardless of the outbreak’s continuing growth. “Certainly the advice we’ve received externally from the World Health Organization is that there’s no case for any contingency plans or canceling the games or moving the games,” Coates continues. The torch will still be lit in nearly 5 months. 

Julianna Dunphy is an Events Specialist and Staff Writer at Grit Daily based in New York. She covers social network news, events, and speaker features.

Read more

More GD News