Continued caution over the spread of the coronavirus has raised questions about the timing of the 2020 Olympics, which are scheduled to be held in Tokyo this summer. Remarks from Japan Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto have opened the door to the possibility of postponing the games, according to a report Tuesday from the Associated Press.
"The IOC has the right to cancel the games only if they are not held during 2020," Hashimoto reportedly told parliament. "This can be interpreted to mean the games can be postponed as long as they are held during the calendar year."
In a statement released Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee said it's committed to the games taking place in Tokyo this summer from July 24 to Aug. 9.
"A joint task force had already been created in mid-February, involving the IOC, Tokyo 2020, the host city of Tokyo, the government of Japan and the World Health Organization," the committee said. "The IOC [executive board] appreciates and supports the measures being taken, which constitute an important part of Tokyo's plans to host safe and secure Games." The IOC added that it will continue to follow WHO advice.
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Originating in the Chinese city Wuhan, the coronavirus prompted a special WHO committee to declare a public health emergency on Jan. 30. WHO later raised its global risk assessment to "very high." COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has spread to more than 50 countries, with more than 90,000 confirmed case and 3,000 deaths as of early March.
The Tokyo Olympic opening ceremony is currently scheduled for July 24, with the closing ceremony set for Aug. 9. See the full schedule here. The Paralympics run from Aug. 25 to Sept. 6.
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