- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 3, 2020

A spokesman for the International Olympic Committee said Tuesday the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo will go on as planned amid fears that the coronavirus outbreak that began in Asia would alter those plans.

Mark Adams was asked by reporters whether there was a deadline for deciding whether the Games could be played on schedule or would have to be moved, postponed or altogether canceled.

“No, we’ve made a decision,” Adams said. “And the decision is that the Games go ahead.”

The World Health Organization said more than 90,000 cases of the coronavirus, named COVID-19, have been confirmed worldwide. That includes more than 100 cases in the U.S., with six deaths so far, and almost 300 cases in Japan, also with six deaths.

The outbreak has prompted sports leagues around the world to take action in ways big and small. Some European soccer clubs have asked players not to shake hands in order to prevent possible spread of the virus, while the NBA advised its players to avoid high-fives for the same reason.

Leagues like the NHL have looked into the possibility of playing games in empty stadiums to avoid gathering large groups of people, something already happening in parts of Europe.

The Japanese minister overseeing the Olympics recently hinted that the country could postpone the games to later in 2020 if need be. The Games are scheduled to run from July 24 to Aug. 9.

There will be a sport climbing test event held in Tokyo this week, but no athletes will be present due to coronavirus fears.

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