Coronavirus: There's no Plan B, say Tokyo Olympics organisers and IOC

Updated: Feb 15, 2020, 11:10 IST | AFP | Tokyo

The coronavirus has infected almost 64,000 people globally with almost 1,400 deaths in China, but only one in Japan where fear is rising with so much attention focused on the outbreak.

John Coates, IOC inspection team head
John Coates, IOC inspection team head

Tokyo: Tokyo Olympics organisers and the International Olympic Committee said on Friday there is no "Plan B" for the 2020 Games, which open in just over five months and have been jolted by the outbreak of a virus in neighboring China.

The coronavirus has infected almost 64,000 people globally with almost 1,400 deaths in China, but only one in Japan where fear is rising with so much attention focused on the outbreak. "Certainly the advice we're received externally from the WHO [World Health Organization] is that there's no case for any contingency plans or cancelling the games or moving the games," John Coates, the head of an IOC inspection team, said to wrap up a two-day visit that was dominated by the virus issue. Coates and Tokyo Olympic organisers took 11 questions at a news conference on Friday.

All 11 were about the virus, or the presence of Chinese athletes in 19 remaining test events in Japan, or about Chinese fans, or repeated questions seeking reassurance the games will go ahead as planned. A Japanese reporter asked Tokyo organising committee President Yoshiro Mori if, given the fact the games are going ahead, would there be any "organisational changes" in how the games are run. "No, at this stage, no. We are not thinking of any such possibility," said Mori, a former Japanese prime minister, speaking in Japanese. Mori, Coates and CEO Toshiro Muto looked glum sitting at a head table taking essentially the same question over and over.

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