The coronavirus outbreak originated and China and has since slowly spread across many corners of the globe. Most confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection are isolated to China, but neighboring countries including Japan have seen their fair share as well.
That’s bad news, specifically for Japan, as the country has a rather important date fast approaching in the form of the 2020 Summer Olympics which are to be held in Tokyo in just a few months’ time. Now, with so much uncertainty surrounding the spread of the virus and the status of vaccines and other preventative measures, Olympics organizers are discussing the very real possibility that the games will be delayed or even canceled.
As AP reports, longstanding International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound revealed in an interview that the group has coronavirus on the mind. At present, it’s a matter of deciding how long the group could wait before ultimately deciding whether or not to delay or cancel the games as a whole.
It’s a complex issue because the preparation for the games is of course already underway. The lead-up to the start of the games is, in some ways, even more work than the games themselves, and if the risk of virus spread remains high, it could pose a serious threat to public health.
“You could certainly go to two months out if you had to,” Pound told AP. “A lot of things have to start happening. You’ve got to start ramping up your security, your food, the Olympic Village, the hotels, The media folks will be in there building their studios.”
Nobody wants to see what would happen if a deadly virus began spreading throughout the Olympic Village, infecting world-class athletes and completely ruining the games themselves. There’s not much time left before the powers that be have to start making some very hard decisions.
As far as what would happen if the risk of virus spread began to seriously impact the planning and preparation of the games, and threatened to impact the games themselves? “You’re probably looking at a cancellation,” Pound told AP.