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The 2020 Tokyo Olympics won’t be delayed by the coronavirus outbreak, with the International Olympic Committee stating Tuesday the Games will begin as planned on July 24.
“The Games are going ahead on the 24th of July, and we completely expect to deliver them on that date,” IOC representative Mark Adams said, per TMZ Sports. “All the advice we’ve been given is that that can go ahead, from the WHO [World Health Organization] and other organisations.”
The traditional flame-lighting ceremony for the games will take place in Greece next week despite fears about the spread of the virus, per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN).
Both of these shows of confidence have followed Japan’s Olympic minister, Seiko Hashimoto, hinting any delay could push the games toward the end of 2020, with the contract calling for the event to be hosted within the calendar year, per Reuters (h/t ESPN).
The virus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has since spread, with cases prevalent in northern Italy, Japan, Iran, Thailand, England and the U.S. among many other nations hit by its impact.
Going ahead with the original date for the Olympics comes after the Tokyo Marathon was impacted by the growing concern. The event was only opened to elite athletes and run on “empty streets,” according to BBC Sport.
Meanwhile, several matches in Serie A, the top flight of Italian domestic club football, have been postponed and subsequently rearranged for May, including Juventus taking on title rivals Inter Milan, per Football Italia.
Further responses to the outbreak across other sports saw MotoGP announce via its official website the cancellation of the premier class Qatar Grand Prix, with the Thailand race postponed soon after.
There have been over 3,000 deaths globally since the outbreak of the virus.