The COVID-19 outbreak in Japan has triggered division in public opinion over whether the 2020 Olympics which is scheduled to be held in July could or should go ahead.
So far, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Japan, including foreigners, has risen to more than 960, with over 700 of them stemming from the virus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in the port city of Yokohama.
The preparations for the event have already been delayed due to scandals and repeated venue changes. And now threats to the Olympics are getting more real as the coronavirus outbreak spreads in Japan.
“Though I hope it will subside by July, I’m not sure to what degree will it subside,” a pedestrian told CGTN reporter.
“When the coronavirus was first reported, I thought it might not continue for that long as the Olympics will be held in summer. But if it lingers on, that would be bad. However, I don’t think the government is considering postponing or letting other countries hold the Olympics,” said a pedestrian.
“The athletes are from different countries and regions around the world. If they are infected, they may make it spread in the country. So I wonder whether it’s possible not to host the Olympics,” another pedestrian said.
However, others are more optimistic and say the public is now taking more reasonable precautions
“I think it is quite safe to hold the Olympics here. I am from the Netherlands and when I look at the normal flu, for example, far more people get normal flu than the coronavirus. And there are more casualties than the coronavirus as well. So at the moment, I am not concerned that the coronavirus will stop the Olympics,” said a foreigner.
Meanwhile, there are worries that some countries or athletes may decide it’s not worth the risk to come to Japan.
“In a word, we should take all possibilities into consideration and take measures. If all efforts fail, then we should think about postponing or canceling the Olympic Games. But first, I believe it is essential to fulfilling what we can do,” said a pedestrian.
“I think we should see how things develop by the end of March or April. If we see it subside, we should prepare clear data and disclose it to the world,” another man said.
Although Tokyo residents are still split over the issue, most say the Games would boost morale and possibly the country’s economy. ( CCTV / CGTN VIA REUTERS CONNECT)
No decision will be made on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in the near future in light of the coronavirus outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday (February 27).
WHO officials said the new coronavirus outbreak has reached a “decisive point” and had the potential to become a pandemic.
With less than five months to go until the Olympics begin, WHO emergencies program head Dr. Mike Ryan said they were working closely with organizers of the Tokyo Olympic Games, providing them with assessment and risk management advice.
On Wednesday Tokyo 2020 officials said they are considering scaling down the torch relay due to concerns over the outbreak
The committee’s basic stance was that the Olympics and Paralympics would go ahead as planned, Tokyo 2020 CEO, Toshiro Muto told reporters.
Japan has moved to quell fears that the Olympics might be canceled after International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound said the Games would more likely be canceled than postponed or moved if the virus forced any change in the schedule. (REUTERS)
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