Dick Pound, the longest-serving member of the International Olympic Committee, says there is a possibility that the 2020 Tokyo Games could be canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Mr. Pound said the International Olympic Committee, is closely monitoring the spread of the COVID-19 and the effect it is having in Japan.
The Tokyo Olympic Games are due to start in July, but if Japan registers more and more cases of the deadly virus, the athletes, teams, spectators, and tourists that are going to travel in Japan could get infected.
During an interview with the Associated Press, Mr. Pound said they still have some time before the committee makes an official decision.
Mr. Pound explained, “You could certainly go to two months out if you had to. 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.”
Mr. Pound added, “This is the new war and you have to face it. 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?’”
When Pound was asked what could happen if the country, Japan, could not control the deadly outbreak, Mr. Pound said there is a possibility that they might have to cancel the Tokyo Games.
As of now, over 200 cases have been registered in Japan and 7 deaths have been reported.
A large majority of those cases came from cruise ship passengers that were quarantined on the Diamond Princess.
According to a report by the New York Times, Japan is currently having a hard time filling up the demands of face masks, disinfectants, and test kits.
There is also a lack of medical professionals who can do the tests on potential patients.
There is a clause in the International Olympic Committee that would warrant the games being canceled if the outbreaks in Japan are not controlled.
In the section 66 of the International Olympic Committee, there is a Termination of Contract statement, where it allows to call off games in the country that is hosting the games before the opening of the games or between games if a war breaks out, a civil disorder happens, people start to boycott, embargo decreed by the international community, or in a situation where the International Olympic Committee believes the games should be called off.
There is no clause that specifies health, but right now, the International Olympic Committee considers it a safety concern.
As of now, all the athletes that are set to take part in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are being told to keep on training.