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Japan's Abe Hints At Postponement Of Coronavirus

Japan's Abe Hints At Postponement Of Coronavirus
It there is a possibility that the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo could get delayed or get postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world, said the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the first time on Monday. A number of countries have already objected to the Games being held and threatened not to allow their athletes to the Games.
"If it’s difficult to proceed in its complete form, then we must think about the athletes first and consider postponing," Abe told the Japanese Parliament.
A final call about the future of the Games this year will not be taken until four weeks more, said the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee while talking to reporters.
Committee president Mori Yoshiro said that the organizers of the Games also now need to work out the impact of delaying the four yearly sports spectacle by one, three and five months on issues such as the availability of venues and therefore develop contingency plans.
"Cancellation would not solve any problem and would help nobody," the international committee's president, Thomas Bach, said on Sunday. The dreams of 11,000 athletes from around the world would be “destroyed” if the Games were cancelled altogether, he added.  
Yoshiro added that the committee still preferred to hold the Games within this calendar year if possible and a complete cancellation of the Games is not being considered in line with what the International Olympic Committee had said earlier.
The efforts being taken by Japan to hold the Olympic Games was praised by the United States president Donald Trump on Monday and the lead given by Abe would be followed by the US about while deciding on whether the athletes from the country would participate in the Games or not.
“We will be guided by the wishes of Prime Minister Abe of Japan, a great friend of the United States and a man who has done a magnificent job on the Olympic Venue, as to attending the Olympic Games in Japan. He will make the proper decision!” Trump tweeted.
If the Games were not delayed enough, no athletes would be sent by Canada and Australia, threatened both the countries on Sunday."This is not solely about athlete health — this is about public health," the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committee said. It called on a one year postponement of e Games.
Even if the Games go ahead, a team to 2020 Tokyo Olympics will not be sent by Australia, the country announced.
Meanwhile, the Olympic torch reached northern Japan last Friday. The torch relay, slated to begin on March 26, will still go ahead, said Tokyo 2020 director general Muto Toshiro.
As on Monday, Japan reported a total of 1.801 confirmed cases of cornavirus infection, said Japan's Health Ministry. That number included 712 infected persons stranded on a cruise ship. 49 people have died so far in Japan.
According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 335,000 people have been infected by the virus while it has claimed the life of more than 14,600 people.  

Christopher J. Mitchell

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