The opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is still five months away, and officials insist the Games will go on as planned, despite the global coronavirus panic. But the deadly and still-mysterious infection caused by the virus, known as COVID-19, has already begun to affect preparations for the Summer Games. Movement of athletes has been limited, qualifying events have been disrupted, and plans to train tens of thousands of volunteers have been postponed.
In public, Japanese officials are doing everything they can to calm fears. “There are no considerations of canceling the Games, nor will the postponements of these activities have an impact on the overall Games preparation,” officials said Friday after training for Olympic volunteers in Tokyo was postponed. Training for the 80,000 volunteers has been pushed back to May in what officials called “part of efforts to prevent the spread of infection.”
Japan has seen the fourth most cases of coronavirus, not counting the hundreds of cases aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Ahead of it are Italy, South Korea, and China, where the disease originated and at least 77,150 have been infected. The numbers in Japan could increase soon though. Last week, as passengers were allowed to leave the cruise ship, critics said the disorganization could lead to a spike in cases throughout the country.
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