- The Olympics were to be held in Tokyo from July 24 to August 9.
- Canada and Australia were the first NOCs to announce they would not send athletes to Tokyo this summer.
- According to the latest news, the coronavirus pandemic has spread to 196 countries and territories, the total number of infected has exceeded 407,000.
Against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced it would postpone the Tokyo Olympic Games to 2021. The decision was made after a meeting with the Japanese government. Earlier, many national olympic committees, from Canada to Australia, called for this.
The Olympics were to be held in Tokyo from July 24 to August 9. They will now be postponed to no later than summer 2021. The decision was made after a telephone conversation between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and IOC head Thomas Bach on Tuesday.
“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community,” the IOC said.
Earlier, the National Olympic Committees of Germany, Norway, Spain, New Zealand, the USA, France, and other countries made a call to postpone the date of the Games. The Olympic Union in the Federal Republic of Germany supported the postponing of the Olympics.
The National Olympic Committee of Canada on Monday, announced that it would not send its athletes to the Games in 2020 due to the risk of contracting COVID-19. The Australian National Olympic Committee also advised its 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.”
Latest Coronavirus Developments Around the World
According to the latest news, the coronavirus pandemic has spread to 196 countries and territories, the total number of infected has exceeded 407,000. Over 18,000 people have died from the disease, while more than 104,000 have recovered.
In China, where the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 began, new infections have barely been reported in recent weeks. On Tuesday, Italy was the most affected country, in which more than 69,000 people were infected with the coronavirus, and nearly 7,000 people have died. The USA took third place in the world, with nearly 50,000 cases and 622 dead.
The first massive cases of infection with a new coronavirus were recorded at the end of December 2019. The appearance of the virus is associated with the “wet market” in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province. Prior to its closure on January 1, 2020, marine mammals, bats, chickens, rabbits, and snakes were sold on the market. Chinese virologists have suggested that one of these animal species could become a source of infection.
China has limited transport links to a number of megacities, quarantining 56 million people in 17 cities of Hubei. It was later revealed that the new type of coronavirus is almost 90 percent identical to the SARS-CoV virus, which also appeared in China in the early 2000s and claimed about 800 lives.
The new coronavirus was first assigned the code 2019-nCoV, and from February 11 it was renamed SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2). The infectious disease that it causes is called COVID-19 (Corona Virus Disease 2019).