Olympic organisers are “extremely worried” about the spread of coronavirus ahead of next summer’s Games in Tokyo.
Toshiro Muto, Tokyo Organising Committee chief executive, said confidence in the event will be hit unless the outbreak is quickly contained.
Nearly 25,000 cases of the virus have been confirmed in China, where the death toll passed 490 on Wednesday. Two people have died outside China – one in Hong Kong, one in the Philippines – while 10 tested positive on a quarantined Japanese cruise ship.
“We are extremely worried in the sense that the spread of the infectious virus could pour cold water on momentum for the Games,” said Muto.
“I hope that it can be eradicated as quickly as possible. We plan to cooperate with the IOC (International Olympic Committee), the IPC (International Paralympic Committee), the government and the city of Tokyo to tackle the disease.”
Saburo Kawabuchi, mayor of the Athletes’ Village, said they would do “everything” to protect the athletes.
“I hope from my heart that we can overcome this (virus) and have a smooth Olympics,” he said.
“We will do our everything we can to protect the athletes to allow them to produce their best performances.”