The Tokyo Olympics have already been hit with several reports of coronavirus cases among athletes who will be participating in the Games while others who were set to compete are staying home over positive cases.
The threat of a coronavirus outbreak clearly isn’t going away anytime soon in Japan. More than 2,300 coronavirus cases were reported in the country on Monday while the seven-day average is more than 3,100. Both numbers are a part of an uptick in cases as the start of the Games crept closer.
Japan already reversed course and banned fans from attending the games, but could a last-minute cancelation still be on the table? Toshiro Muto, the head of the Tokyo organizing committee, didn’t exactly rule it out.
“We can’t predict what will happen with the number of coronavirus cases. So we will continue discussions if there is a spike in cases,” he said Tuesday, via Yahoo Sports.
“We have agreed that based on the coronavirus situation, we will convene five-party talks again. At this point, the coronavirus cases may rise or fall, so we will think about what we should do when the situation arises.”
Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said earlier Tuesday the world needs to see that the country can hold a safe Olympics given the dire circumstances.
“The world is faced with great difficulties,” Suga told International Olympic Committee (IOC) members in a closed-door meeting, according to the AP. “We can bring success to the delivery of the Games.
“Such fact has to be communicated from Japan to the rest of the world. We will protect the health and security of the Japanese public.”
IOC President Thomas Bach said “85% of Olympic Village residents and 100% of IOC members present here have been either vaccinated or are immune” to COVID.
Bach said canceling the Olympics has never been an option because “the IOC never abandons the athletes.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.