IO – Toshiro Muto, Chief Executive Officer of the Tokyo Olympics, admitted on Wednesday 5 February that organizers are “extremely worried” about the possible effect of the deadly new coronavirus on this summer’s Games.
Toshiro Muto said he hoped the outbreak in China would be quickly contained, to restore confidence in the run-up to the Olympics.
“We are extremely worried in the sense that the spread of the infectious virus could pour cold water on momentum for the Games,” he said before a meeting with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) as quoted by CNA.
“I hope that it can be eradicated as quickly as possible. We plan to cooperate with the IOC (International Olympic Committee), the IPC, the government and the city of Tokyo to tackle the disease.”
More than 20 countries have confirmed cases of the pathogen, which has killed nearly 500 people and infected at least 24,000 in mainland China.
Japan has had no reported deaths so far, but at least 10 people on a cruise ship carrying 3,711 passengers and crew quarantined off Yokohama have tested positive for the new coronavirus.
The Japanese government has chartered three flights to repatriate 565 Japanese nationals from Wuhan, the central Chinese city hardest hit by the virus.
The health scare has led to the cancellation of Olympic qualifying events in China, such as boxing and badminton.
The Tokyo Olympics begin on Jul 24 with the Paralympics starting on Aug 25. (rp)