| 4.1°C Belfast

Olympics preparations on schedule despite coronavirus fears

A Japanese government spokesman has downplayed a senior IOC member’s concerns over the fate of this year’s Tokyo games.

Close

The Olympic rings are reflected on the window of a hotel restaurant in Tokyo as a server with a mask sets up a table (Jae C.Hong/AP)

The Olympic rings are reflected on the window of a hotel restaurant in Tokyo as a server with a mask sets up a table (Jae C.Hong/AP)

The Olympic rings are reflected on the window of a hotel restaurant in Tokyo as a server with a mask sets up a table (Jae C.Hong/AP)

The Japanese government has said preparations for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics are progressing as scheduled despite concerns over the spread of the coronavirus.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) veteran Dick Pound said the rate at which the virus, known as Covid-19, is spreading could force the cancellation of the 2020 Olympics.

However Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga has stressed that Mr Pound does not speak for the IOC and there are no plans to cancel or postpone the games.

“With regard to this member’s comment, the IOC has responded that this is not their official position, and that (the) IOC is proceeding with preparations toward the games as scheduled,” Mr Suga said.

On Monday, Mr Pound said organisers had a three-month window to decide the fate of the Games.

Folks are going to have to ask: 'Is this under sufficient control that we can be confident about going to Tokyo or not?'Dick Pound

“In and around that time”, he said, “I’d say folks are going to have to ask: ‘Is this under sufficient control that we can be confident about going to Tokyo or not?'”

Mr Pound, who represented Canada in swimming at the 1960 Rome Olympics, also said that if Tokyo cannot host the games, “you’re probably looking at a cancellation”.

PA