The World Health Organization on Friday said it was not advising on whether or not to go ahead with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics this year amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

But Michael Ryan, head of WHO’s health emergencies program, said the U.N. agency could offer technical advice on how to handle possible risks around the event.

“We have not offered advice to the IOC for the Olympics one way or the other. And neither would we, it’s not the role of WHO to call off or not call off any event,” Ryan said at a news conference.

“It’s the decision of hosting countries and the organizing agencies to make that decision.”

Earlier on Friday, the head of the IOC Coordination Commission insisted there was no danger of Tokyo 2020 being canceled or moved.

“The advice we have received from the World Health Organization is that there is no case for a contingency plan to cancel or move the games,” John Coates told reporters.

Ryan said that the U.N. health agency regularly offered technical advice to countries hosting all kinds of mass gatherings, such as sporting events or religious festivals.

“At this stage, there has been no specific discussion or no specific decision made regarding any of those mass events in the coming months,” Ryan said. “But we stand ready to offer both member states hosting events and organizations organizing events to offer them the best mechanism and risk assessment approaches that we have.”

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.



Your news needs your support

Since the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis, The Japan Times has been providing free access to crucial news on the impact of the novel coronavirus as well as practical information about how to cope with the pandemic. Please consider subscribing today so we can continue offering you up-to-date, in-depth news about Japan.