As an Olympic organizer, it is your worst nightmare.
Mere months before you set aflame the famous cauldron, there is a massive virus outbreak, striking fear into locals and visitors alike.
At a time when you are trying to sell tickets and travel, everything is at a standstill.
Imagine, just how concerned organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games are right about now, with the onset of the novel coronavirus, which has spread to more than 20 countries, Japan Times reported.
“We are extremely worried that the spread of the virus could pour cold water on momentum for the Games,” Toshiro Muto, chief executive officer of the Tokyo Organizing Committee, said during a meeting with the International Paralympic Committee.
“I hope that it can be resolved as quickly as possible.”
Preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus during the 2020 Games was the main topic of discussion during a working group Friday at the Diet between Seiko Hashimoto, the cabinet minister in charge of the Games, and members of the organizing committees as well as representatives of local and regional municipalities, the report said.
In the previous three meetings of the working group, preventing the spread of rubella and the measles were the main topics of discussion, but this time Cabinet officials said the novel coronavirus was the primary subject of concern, the report said.
“What’s most important is that all affiliated groups — the national government, the host city, organizing committees, athletic groups as well as local and regional municipalities — work together to make sure the 2020 Games are carried out in a way that ensures the safety of spectators, staff and athletes,” Hashimoto said at the beginning of the meeting.
Meanwhile, at least 11 Americans are among the dozens of people aboard a cruise ship moored in Japan who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to an ABC report.
Since arriving at the Japanese port of Yokohama on Monday, the Diamond Princess has been quarantined at sea while all passengers and crew undergo health screenings, the report said.
At least 61 people have tested positive for the newly identified coronavirus. The patients, who include elderly people and foreign nationals, were taken ashore to a hospital in the coastal prefecture of Kanagawa, according to Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the report said.
Royal Caribbean International also announced that any of its passengers holding a Chinese, Hong Kong or Macau passport will not be allowed to board its cruise ships “regardless of when they were there last.”
The cruise line also said it was banning any passengers who have been in close contact with someone that has “traveled from, to, or through mainland China, Hong Kong, or Macau less than 15 days.”