Tokyo Olympics 2020: Cancellation of games possible due to coronavirus outbreak

A high-ranking official of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stated on Tuesday that there is a possibility the 2020 Tokyo Olympics later this year will be cancelled if the coronavirus situation does not get better.

Dick Pound, a member of the IOC since 1978, told the Associated Press that the committee will eventually have to decide on the matter within a three-month window, meaning a decision must be made in May 2020.

“In and around that time, I’d say folks are going to have to ask: ‘Is this under sufficient control that we can be confident about going to Tokyo or not?’” Pound told the Associated Press.

“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.”

Pound also believes that cancellation of the games will be more likely rather than postponing the event for a later period.

Concerns are already growing regarding the grand sporting event, as Japan has cancelled matches of their top-tier J. League football until March 15.

As of Thursday, there are 189 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Japan, and more Japanese people who road the cruise ship Diamond Princess are infected.

The Tokyo Olympics will start on July 24 and will end on August 9. The IOC announced Japan as the host of the event in 2013.

There will be 33 sports in the Olympics, and it is expected to draw about 14,000 athletes from 206 nations.