Coronavirus should not spoil Tokyo Olympics

Men wearing protective gear are seen near the cruise ship Diamond Princess, where 10 more people were tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday, at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan February 7, 2020. [Reuters]

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games goes down in under six months in Japan. But the games have been thrown into jeopardy following the outbreak of coronavirus in Asia. Although Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has played down concerns over the coronavirus which erupted in China last month, there are fears the deadly virus would impact Japan’s preparations for the 17 day event slated to kick off on July 24.

The World Health Organisation has already declared the coronavirus a global health emergency after it claimed more than 560 lives and infected over 28,000 people across more than 25 countries and territories.

The virus is more lethal than the SARS epidemic of 2002-03, which killed 349 people in China. And with little information on how the virus spreads and how to prevent transmission, there is little sign that health experts are bringing the outbreak under control. While the International Olympic Committee has said it is in contact with the WHO and would be on high alert to carefully monitor and review counter-measures against infectious diseases, an anti-Olympics pressure group in Japan has challenged their government to cancel the global event.

The concerned authorities are now in a catch-22-situation over the epidemic. It remains to be seen what decision they will take before the games serve off in July. There is need for thorough checks to put it under control. But we should not isolate Japan. The world must offer support to Japan at this time.

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Tokyo 2020 OlympicsJapanCoronavirus