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Tokyo Olympics organisers says there is no 'Plan B' for 2020 summer games amid coronavirus fears

Brittany Chang , Business Insider US
 Feb 17, 2020, 02:01 PM
TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 01:  Olympic logos on disp
Olympic logos on display downtown near Tokyo Station on November 01, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Tokyo Olympic organisers and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said there is no 'Plan B' for the upcoming summer games despite growing fears that the coronavirus could impact the event, which are set to begin in July, the Associated Press reported.

Speaking at a press conference Friday, the organisers took 11 questions, all of which were related to the virus, athletes and fans coming in from China, and the continuation of the planned events.

"Certainly the advice we've received externally from the WHO [World Health Organisation] is that there's no case for any contingency plans or canceling the games or moving the games," IOC inspection team head John Coates said during the news conference, CBS Sports reported.

Coates also claimed he is "100% confident" that the Olympic games will continue as scheduled.

"It is meaningless to predict a timing when [the coronavirus] may come to an end," former regional director of the WHO and an infectious disease expert from Japan Shigeru Omi told the Associated Press separate from the news conference on Thursday. "We should assume that the virus has already been spreading in Japan. People should understand that we cannot only rely on border controls to prevent the spread of the disease."

However, CEO of the Tokyo Olympics Toshiro Muto said on February 4 at a meeting with International Paralympic Committee officials that he was "seriously worried" about the impact the coronavirus could have on the "momentum towards the games," the Associated Press reported.

Several qualifying events have already been canceled or moved because of the virus, CNN reported. Asia and Oceanian region's qualifying boxing event has been canceled, and the Asian Football Confederation's women's football qualifiers has been moved from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, to Nanjing.

China is expected to bring in a team of about 600 athletes to the Tokyo games this summer.

"We continue also to monitor, particularly the Chinese that will be coming here," Coates continued. "You'll find that the Chinese teams are mostly out of China. That's the athletes and officials."

As of now, there has been one coronavirus-induced fatality in Japan, making it the second death outside of China, the Washington Post reported. To compare, 1,380 deaths have occured in China.

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