Tokyo 2020 chief Muto does not rule out 11th-hour cancellation of Games

The chief of the organizing committee responsible for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Toshiro Muto, said that he did not completely rule out canceling the Olympics, as reports begin to come in that more and more athletes and delegates are testing positive for the coronavirus. Sponsors have already canceled plans to attend the opening ceremony of the games.

When asked if the global athletic event would still be canceled during a press conference, Toshiro Muto said he would keep an eye on illness statistics and consult with other organisers if required.

“If there is a surge in instances, we will continue to talk,” Muto added.

Cases of Covid-19 are on the rise in Tokyo, and the Olympics, which were postponed last year because to the epidemic, will be held without spectators. To reduce health concerns, Japan agreed earlier this month that competitors would fight in empty arenas.

Since July 1, when many athletes and officials began arriving, there have been 67 cases of COVID-19 infections among individuals credentialed for the Games, according to organisers.

Japan, whose immunisation programme lags behind that of most other affluent countries, has had more than 840,000 cases and 15,055 fatalities, with 1,387 cases reported on Tuesday in the Games host city of Tokyo.

Muto is known for his cautious wording, and authorities are dealing with a local public that is upset about coronavirus limitations and anxious about a probable rise in cases brought in by Games visitors from other countries.

Organizers have pledged to make the Games “safe and secure,” according to International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, who stated that cancelling the event was never an option.

Experts, on the other hand, find flaws in an Olympic “bubble” that requires periodic testing and is meant to restrict competitors’ mobility.

Seiko Hashimoto, who serves as the organising committee’s President alongside Muto, stated that safety measures put in place to reassure the Japanese people had not always done so and that she was aware that public enthusiasm for the Games had dwindled.

A man walks past a Tokyo 2020 advertising poster at the Shinjuku Metro Station, in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo.
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Mexico’s baseball association announced on Tuesday that two members of Mexico’s squad for the Olympics tested positive for Covid-19 at the team hotel prior to their departure for Tokyo.

All team members, including athletes Hector Velazquez and Sammy Solis, who tested positive on July 18, have been isolated until the results of additional testing are released, according to the statement.

According to a study published in the Asahi newspaper, 68 percent of respondents doubted Olympic organisers’ capacity to prevent coronavirus infections, with 55 percent opposing the Games’ continuation.

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