LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND – The Tokyo Olympics organizing committee informed the International Olympic Committee on Wednesday of its plans to cope with conditions related to the current coronavirus outbreak during the torch relay starting from March 26.
Speaking with the IOC executive board via teleconference from Tokyo to discuss preparations for this summer’s Olympics, Tokyo Olympics CEO Toshiro Muto said, “I want to carry out this (torch relay) by taking necessary measures after thorough discussion with local governments.”
IOC President Thomas Bach reiterated his full confidence that the Tokyo Olympics will be held as scheduled, starting on July 24.
The Tokyo organizers said they will confer with prefectural authorities at least a week in advance of the relay’s arrival in order to decide on specific procedures to be followed there depending on the situation of infections in each location.
Overall, organizers will ask runners and spectators not to participate if they feel unwell. Participants will be asked to thoroughly wash their hands and be considerate of others when coughing, while alcohol disinfectants will be placed at ceremonies.
Torch runners and staff will have their temperatures monitored and undergo some health checks.
After consultations with prefectural officials and sponsor partners, restrictions may be placed on attending ceremonies, while spectators along the roadside may be asked to exercise self-restraint.
On Feb. 26, the Japanese government informed organizers of big sports and cultural events to consider canceling or postponing in order to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Since then professional baseball games have been played in empty stadiums, while top-level rugby and pro soccer matches have been postponed.
Japan’s ancient sport of sumo has responded by holding a tournament behind closed doors for the first time in history.