- Head of the organising committee of Tokyo 2020 refuses to rule out an 11th hour cancellation of the Games
- Toshiro Muto says he will keep an eye on infection numbers and liaise with other organizers if necessary
- Covid-19 cases are rising in Tokyo and the Games, postponed last year because of the pandemic, will be held without spectators
Head of the organising committee of Tokyo 2020, Toshiro Muto, has refused to rule out a last-minute cancellation of the Olympic Games as Tokyo reported a spike in new cases of COVID-19.
His statement overnight came as more athletes tested positive for the virus and sponsors ditched plans to attend Friday’s opening ceremony on Friday.
Japan, whose vaccination program has lagged behind that of most other developed nations, has recorded more than 840,000 cases and 15,055 deaths.
Games host city Tokyo is experiencing a fresh surge, with 1387 cases recorded on Tuesday, and is in its fourth state of emergency until August 22.
“What would happen if the COVID-19 infection were to spread further? Well, I think when that happens, we have to have a full consultation,” Mr Muto said overnight when asked at a news conference if the global sporting event could still be cancelled.
“We will continue discussions if there is a spike in cases.
“At the five-party meeting, which was held the other day, we mentioned that we’ll continue to monitor the situation and if required, we will be hosting another five-party meeting that is clearly identified. So at this stage, we cannot say whether the infection may spread or the infection may be under control. So when we see a concrete situation going forward, then we will consider the matter.”
The ‘2020’ Games have already been postponed until this year due to COVID-19 and will be held without spectators.