Japanese Virologist Warns Virus Could Stymie Olympics

Andy Berg Headshot

With the Tokyo Olympics slated to begin July 24, organizers are hopeful that the coronavirus outbreak will be controlled by that time, but some worry about the consequences if the virus continues to spread throughout the summer.

A prominent Japanese virologist says the world may have to wait and see where things are at with containment of the virus come July.

Dr. Hitoshi Oshitani, a former adviser with the World Health Organization who worked on the SARS outbreak almost 20 years ago, said that the games could not be held if they were scheduled to start tomorrow.

Oshitani said that if a new outbreak were to begin in July in Africa or other parts of Asia, it “would be difficult to have” the Olympics, according to the Associated Press.

For his part, Oshitani is lobbying for Japan to do all it can now to help contain the coronavirus.

Already Chinese athletes’ preparations for the games have been impacted, with many unable to attend Olympic qualifying events around the globe due to travel bans. Most recently, the Chinese gymnastics team was banned from entering Australia for the World Cup event.

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