The coronavirus outbreak has brought up some questions as to whether the 2020 Olympics will still be held as planned. Toyko Olympic organizers reiterated at a press conference that there is no “Plan B” for the Games, which are set to get underway on July 24, according to The Associated Press.
“Certainly the advice we’ve received externally from the WHO (World Health Organization) is that there’s no case for any contingency plans or canceling the games or moving the games,” IOC inspection team head John Coates said during a news conference on Friday. “We also continue to monitor, particularly the Chinese that will be coming here. You’ll find that the Chinese teams are mostly out of China including the athletes and officials.”
Tokyo organizing committee President Yoshiro Mori added that he didn’t anticipate any “organizational changes” in reference to how the 2020 Games will be run.
On asked about the change of venue, Mori said, “No, at this stage, no. We are not thinking of any such possibility.”
The coronavirus has caused at least 1,400 deaths globally and infected over 64,000 people, CBS News reports.
But outside experts warned that coronavirus-related health risks to Japan are hard to predict.
“There is no guarantee that the outbreak will come to an end before the Olympics because we have no scientific basis to be able to say that,” Shigeru Omi, a former regional director of the WHO.
“So it is meaningless to predict a timing when it may come to an end”, he added. “We should assume that the virus has already been spreading in Japan. People should understand that we cannot only rely on border controls to prevent the spread of the disease.”
Several qualifying events have been postponed as a result of the coronavirus.
Last month, the World Athletics governing body announced that the World Athletics Indoor Championships were being moved to 2021. The Indoor Championships were originally scheduled to take place in Nanjing in mid-March.
In addition, the first FIS Alpine Ski World Cup races were canceled due to the coronavirus. The races were originally scheduled for Feb. 15 and 16. The men’s downhill and super-G races were scheduled to take place during the two-day period.