Organizers from Tokyo 2020 have started planning alternate dates for the Olympics

Obinwannem News Organizers from Tokyo 2020 have started planning alternate dates for the Olympics

For the first time on Monday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the Olympic Games in Tokyo would need to be postponed if the event can not be held in its “full form” due to a coronavirus pandemic.

After an emergency meeting on Sunday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it is speeding up its “scenario preparation” for the 2020 Games set to begin on July 24, including a potential postponement.

Abe said though cancelling the Games wasn’t an option, there was a delay on the cards now if the event couldn’t be held in its full form. “If it gets complicated, we will have no choice but to consider postponing the Games,” he told parliament.

He said on Sunday evening that he had expressed his views to Tokyo Games leader Yoshiro Mori, who then addressed the issue with IOC chairman Thomas Bach.

Under that pressure from athletes, federations and national committees to postpone the Games, the IOC made a partial U-turn on Sunday after long insisting that the Games go ahead as scheduled with organizers from Tokyo.

Organizers from Tokyo 2020 have started to draft alternate dates for the Olympics, sources told Reuters. Since the coronavirus epidemic started in China late last year, more than 14,600 people have died worldwide, with the epicenter now in Europe.

As of Sunday morning, Japan had 37 deaths and 1,055 cases of coronavirus, except those from a cruise ship that last month was quarantined near Tokyo and returned on chartered flights from China, a tally showed by public broadcaster NHK.

Echoing Abe’s remarks regarding potential delays in the Olympics, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said the speed of the city’s coronavirus infection rates was getting higher, asking people to refrain from public gatherings for the next three weeks.

At the present pace, according to experts advising the city, the number of coronavirus patients in Tokyo is expected to rise by 530 through April 8. As of March 22, the Tokyo government said the number of confirmed cases was 130, with four dead.

Prime Minister Abe said all U.S. travellers, including Japanese residents, will be asked to quarantine for 14 days following their arrival in Japan. About one in three people of the United States have been advised to remain at home to stop the spread of the flu-like virus as there were 32,000 cases nationwide, with more than 415 deaths, according to a report from Reuters.

Japan’s foreign ministry has urged people to avoid both non-essential and non-emergency travel to the US.

Chukwugozie Okeke reporting, Obinwannem News

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