Organisers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games have assured ticket holders that the event will go ahead as planned despite “serious concerns” over the spread of coronavirus.
Chief executive of the Games Toshiro Muto last week voiced his concern about the virus, which has officially killed more than 900 people so far, but then later urged people to remain “cool-headed.”
Muto revealed that organisers have set up a task force to combat the virus and promised that the Games would not be derailed stating “the Olympics will go ahead as planned,” The Strait Times reports.
Muto continued: “It is important to remain objective and cool-headed. We don’t want to alarm the public. The infection is still limited and there is no problem staging the Olympics based on the current situation.”
On Thursday, Japan confirmed 45 cases of the virus but no deaths have been reported. Last week, a cruise ship that arrived at the port of Yokohama found 64 people who tested positive for the coronavirus, leading to the Japanese government quarantining the ship with more than 3,700 crew and passengers aboard.
International Paralympic Committee (IPC) spokesman Craig Spence added: “Fear is spreading quicker than the virus. It’s important we quell that fear. Only 191 of the total cases are outside mainland China, so let’s put things into perspective.
“If you compare those rates with the common flu, they are still relatively small numbers.
“We will follow the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO). Every organising committee looks into countermeasures, and we have measures in place from previous Olympics and Paralympics here in Tokyo. It is standard practice, it’s business as usual.”