Olympics officials: COVID-19 won’t cancel Tokyo Games

Feb. 13 (UPI) — The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo will not be interrupted by the coronavirus outbreak, Japanese organizers said Thursday.

Yoshiro Mori, the head of Tokyo’s organizing committee, told reporters the Games will go ahead as planned, starting July 24.

“I would like to make it clear yet again that we are not considering a cancellation or postponement of the games,” he said. “Permit me to make that crystal clear.”

“We have unexpected issues to deal with, such as the coronavirus. We look forward to hearing from the Japanese government … to ensure the athletes and people who come to the Games are not going to be affected and that all precautions are being taken,” the former Japanese prime minister added.

The coronavirus, officially dubbed COVID-19 by the World Health Organization earlier this week, has already led to the cancellation or postponement of the Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament, the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Shanghai, the Formula E race in Sanya, China, and the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing, China.

As of Thursday, the virus has killed more than 1,300 people and sickened nearly 60,000. The United States confirmed its 15th case of COVID-19 in Texas among a group of people under quarantine at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

The virus has symptoms similar to the common cold but may be more severe, including respiratory infection, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. COVID-19 can lead to pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome or kidney failure.