It’s untimely to assume the novel coronavirus outbreak will additional delay the Tokyo Olympics, which have already been postponed a yr, Brian McCloskey, an skilled on world well being safety and outbreak prevention advised Reuters.
Underneath rising strain from athletes, the Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo Video games organizers final month postponed the 2020 Video games for one yr because the coronavirus unfold, shutting down world sport.
But as nations attempt to beat again the pandemic, with consultants predicting a vaccine remains to be 12-18 months away, questions have begun to floor as as to whether a yr’s delay is enough time to stage the Video games in a protected atmosphere.
“I believe that is in all probability somewhat bit untimely within the sense that we have 15 months extra of planning and getting ready for the Olympics in 2021,” McCloskey mentioned. “So, I believe it is untimely to say it is unrealistic [that the Olympics cannot be held in 2021].
“Clearly, having a vaccine can be extraordinarily useful, not only for the Olympics, however for all of us. However even with out a vaccine I believe there are different mitigation measures we’ll have a look at to ensure we will run the Video games safely.
“So, it is a problem, however I might say it is too quickly to say it will possibly’t occur.”
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The variety of confirmed novel coronavirus circumstances in Japan rose to 10,000 on Saturday, public broadcaster NHK mentioned, simply days after a state of emergency was prolonged to the whole nation in an try and gradual the unfold of the virus.
Simply over 200 individuals have died from the virus in Japan.
“This yr for Tokyo, it received to the purpose the place the quantity of mitigation that might have been wanted was greater than we may ask the Japanese authorities to do when the Japanese authorities wanted to be specializing in taking care of its inhabitants,” mentioned McCloskey, a member of the World Well being Group Novel Coronavirus-19 Mass Gatherings Professional Group.
“However that would nicely have modified by subsequent yr. So, it is fairly doable that the outbreak shall be at a degree the place it is manageable with none specific danger.
“Or it could be that the vaccine arrives, it could be there’s therapy accessible. So, we simply must assume by means of the choices and never soar to too many conclusions too shortly.”
McCloskey’s wait-and-see method sounds much like the one taken by the IOC earlier than it determined to postpone the Video games amid mounting criticism.
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Athletes had been offended at being left in a state of limbo by the IOC and Tokyo organizers and whereas the postponement has supplied a cushion, the clock is as soon as once more ticking.
Sports activities leagues and federations world wide are getting ready to emerge from the outbreak and return to motion with most seemingly resigned to the very fact they are going to be performed in empty arenas and stadiums till it’s protected for followers to return again.
“So, we will run by means of to this time subsequent yr,” mentioned McCloskey, looking forward to a 2021 Summer time Video games. “After that it will get extra problematic as a result of individuals have spent some huge cash, athletes must make up their thoughts whether or not they can come or not.
“So, it will get increasingly troublesome the nearer you get. However I might say there is a willingness and an enthusiasm to ensure it occurs correctly.
“So, individuals will strive exhausting and I believe they will dangle on to the final minute to see whether or not it is protected to go.”