The Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer will be “held as scheduled,” according to the CEO of the Olympics, who said earlier this week he was “seriously worried” that the coronavirus outbreak could affect the games in a negative manner.
According to Fox News, Toshiro Muto sought to clear up any confusion Thursday regarding his previous comments.
“In order to avoid any misunderstanding, I would like to say that the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be held as scheduled,” he told reporters at a news conference with International Paralympic Committee officials.
Muto said people should be “cool-headed” about the situation.
Just one day earlier, Muto was singing a different tune.
“I am seriously worried that the spread of the infectious disease caused by new coronavirus could throw cold water on the momentum of the games,” he told reporters.
“I hope it will subside as soon as possible. As the organizing committee, we would like to take countermeasures against infectious diseases firmly.”
The spread of a new coronavirus could throw ‘cold water over the growing momentum of the 2020 Games,’ Tokyo Organising Committee CEO Toshiro Muto said https://t.co/E4EZhzEbZ8 pic.twitter.com/lvnLzbJ9Ok
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 5, 2020
Fox reported that Tokyo Olympic officials have set up a task force to address the virus and have continued to emphasize that the summer games will still be played.
There have been 89 cases of coronavirus reported in Japan as of Saturday, according to The New York Times, though no deaths have occurred there. (A Japanese citizen was reported dead in Wuhan, China, The Washington Post reported.)
But as the virus has spread, the organizers have been faced with more and more questions about its potential affect on the games. Officials say they will concede to the advice of the World Health Organization.
“We need to put things into perspective, and until the World Health Organization tells us otherwise, we will proceed with business as usual,” IPC spokesperson Craig Spence told Fox.
The 2020 Summer Olympic Games are scheduled to run from July 24 to Aug. 9, while the Paralympics are scheduled to start Aug. 25 and end Sept. 6.
An Olympic regional qualifying tournament set to include the women’s national soccer teams from China, Thailand, Australia and Taiwan was moved from Wuhan to Sydney, Australia because of the virus.
And China’s national women’s soccer team was placed under quarantine after traveling through Wuhan.
Though Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the government would do its best keep the virus’ impact on the games as low as possible, Reuters reported that vaccines might not be ready by the time the games begin.
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