Graphic by Alex Iannone
The Olympics are one of the most anticipated events in the global sports community; the 2020 games in Tokyo are fast approaching, and countries have been diligently continuing their preparations to ensure a successful outing. Yet one country which could prove anomalous this year is China. Unfortunately, the nation has been plagued with what may very well prove to be a significant factor in its appearance and success: the coronavirus.
As of now, China is taking extensive measures to make sure their athletes are able to perform; they are training in safe and isolated environments in major facilities throughout the city of Beijing. Liu Guoyong, the head official in charge of competitions from the General Admission of Sport, claims that preparation has been going smoothly thus far. However, due to the outbreak, officials have postponed significant sporting events such as the Chinese Super League and Chinese Basketball Association games.
“We think this is an appropriate move,” Guoyong said. “The bottom line is, we are putting the safety of our athletes as well as everyone else first when making these considerations.”
There continues to be a rising death toll in China due to the disease. Yet the spread has contributed to over 20 infections in Japan, as well. Because of this contact and uncertainty about where the disease will reach by the summer, a series of false rumors have proliferated about the possible cancellation of the 2020 games. But Tokyo Olympic organizers are assuring everyone that the games will proceed as scheduled.
“Countermeasures against the infectious disease constitute an important part of Tokyo 2020’s plan to host a safe and secure Games,” International Olympic Committee (IOC) said. “Tokyo 2020 will continue to collaborate with all relevant organizations which carefully monitor any incidence of infectious diseases and will review any countermeasures.”
The coronavirus outbreak is currently the most severe outbreak China has seen in years, as it has managed to become a global public health emergency. Further, this past Wednesday, more than 24,000 cases were confirmed across China. With this, we will have to see if the Games will take any measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus going forward.