Coronavirus: Canada, Australia Pull Out of Tokyo Olympics

  • The NOC of Canada called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to postpone the Summer Olympics.
  • Australia does not consider it possible to continue preparations for the 2020 Olympics.
  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did not rule out postponing the Tokyo Summer Olympics.

Due to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic, Canada and Australia have refused to participate in the Tokyo Olympics this summer. On Monday, the National Olympic Committee of Canada announced that it would not send athletes to the Games in 2020 due to the risk of contracting viral pneumonia COVID-19.

The 2020 Summer Olympics, officially the Games of the XXXII Olympiad, and commonly known as Tokyo 2020, is an upcoming international multi-sport event scheduled to take place from 24 July to 9 August 2020 in Tokyo, Japan, with preliminary events in some sports beginning on 22 July. Although according to some reports, will be postponed to 2021 due to the 2019-2020 coronavirus pandemic.

Also, Canadian athletes will not participate in the Paralympic Games. The NOC of Canada called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to postpone the Summer Olympics, which is still planned for July 24 – August 9, for one year.

Australia does not consider it possible to continue preparations for the 2020 Olympics. The National Olympic Committee of Australia issued a similar statement. It advised his athletes to prepare for the Olympics in the summer of 2021. The committee members unanimously agreed during the video conference that the Australian team could not be formed “under changing circumstances at home and abroad.” The committee emphasized, “it is clear that the Games cannot be held in July” of 2020.

The statement also noted that athletes should give priority to their own health and that of others, and should be able to return to their families amid a pandemic and global travel restrictions. Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did not rule out postponing the Tokyo Summer Olympics. “Athletic health is a priority,” he said during a speech in Parliament. At the same time, there can be no talk of canceling the event, Abe emphasized.

Coronavirus Pandemic Developments

According to the Worldometer international volunteer group, the coronavirus pandemic spread to 192 countries and territories, and the total number of infected almost reached 340,000. At least 14,700 people have already died from the consequences of the disease, and more than 99,000 recovered. In China, with which the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 began , new infections have barely been detected in recent weeks.

At the moment, the most affected country is Italy, in which 59,000 people were infected with the coronavirus, and 5,500 already died. The United States took third place in the world in the number of infected, in which more than 35,000 cases of coronavirus were confirmed.

IOC Will Decide on the Fate of the Olympics

Shinzō Abe is a Japanese politician who has been Prime Minister of Japan and President of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) since 2012. He previously served as Prime Minister from 2006 to 2007 and Chief Cabinet Secretary from 2005 to 2006.

Given the coronavirus pandemic, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) intends to decide within four weeks on the possible rescheduling of the Summer Olympic Games, due to be held in Tokyo from July 24 to August 9, 2020. This is stated in the message of the IOC press service, posted on Sunday on the organization’s website.

As noted in the document, considering various solutions to the problem, the IOC, notes a significant improvement in the situation in Japan, where people warmly welcome the Olympic flame. This gives confidence that the IOC can, with certain security restrictions, “organize the Olympic Games in the country, while respecting its principle of protecting the health of all participants.”

Also, “there has been a sharp increase in cases and new outbreaks of COVID-19 in different countries on different continents.” In addition, problems may arise with the use of a number of infrastructure facilities for Olympic needs, with millions of booked overnight stays in hotels, with the need to redraw the schedules of international competitions for at least 33 Olympic sports.

At the same time, the statement notes that “the abolition of the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 will not solve any of the problems and will not help anyone. Therefore, the issue of cancellation is not on the agenda.” The statement notes that the IOC, with all responsible partners, has begun to consider various scenarios for deciding the fate of the Games.

According to AFP, the IOC sent out a pandemic questionnaire to all national organizations. In the questionnaire, entitled “COVID-19 and preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” the National Olympic Committees should, in particular, explain how restrictive measures existing in a country affect the spread of coronavirus affect the preparation of athletes for the Games.

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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