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Tokyo 2020 preparations going ahead ‘as planned’ despite coronavirus threat

Olympic organizers have insisted that preparations for Tokyo 2020 are going ahead “as planned” despite the novel coronavirus outbreak in Asia.

The virus has so far claimed the lives of over 2,700 worldwide, with the majority recorded in mainland China.

A number of sporting events have already been impacted, including the Tokyo marathon which has been restricted to elite athletes only.

“(We) will continue to collaborate with all relevant organizations which carefully monitor any incidence of infectious diseases and will review any countermeasures that may be necessary with all relevant organizations,” the local Olympic organizing committee said in a statement to CNN Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, Dick Pound, a senior member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), told AP there is potential for the Olympics to be postponed or canceled, estimating a three-month window in which to make that decision.

Local organizers told CNN that the three-month window “is not necessarily the IOC’s collective view.”

Meanwhile, the IOC also offered its own assurance the Games would go ahead, telling CNN that “countermeasures against infectious diseases constitute an important part of Tokyo 2020’s plans to host a safe and secure Games.

“The IOC is in contact with the World Health Organization, as well as its own medical experts. We have full confidence that the relevant authorities, in particular in Japan and China, will take all the necessary measures to address the situation.”

The Olympics are scheduled to take place between July 24 and August 9.

The 2020 World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing, China, have been postponed until next year and the Asian Indoor Track and Field Championship in Hangzhou has been canceled.

The Six Nations, rugby’s premier international competition in the northern hemisphere, has called off Ireland’s fixture against Italy scheduled for March 7.

Inter Milan’s Europa League game against Ludogorets will be played behind closed doors Thursday.

Italy confirmed 322 cases of the virus on Tuesday, the highest number of infections outside Asia.

Japan’s J-League postponed seven Levian Cup matches in February and all domestic games through early March, while 72 Japanese pro-baseball pre-season games will be played in empty stadiums to prevent the spread of the virus, according to the Nippon Professional Baseball organization.

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