The outbreak of the Coronavirus (pneumonia) in China has raised concerns about a global pandemic that Japan faces the potential for infection to attack preparations for the 2020 Olympic Games.
According to initial statistics, the new virus killed 17 people and nearly 600 infected people affected the 2020 Olympic qualifying events taking place in China next month, resulting in the cancellation of matches. Boxing in Wuhan City, which is considered the focus of the outbreak, and women’s football qualifier moved to Nanjing.
Although Japan has only discovered one case, it has raised a great risk of infection when millions of travelers attend the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. Kazuhiro Tateda, president of the Japan Association of Infectious Diseases, told a brief meeting on January 22 that they had to be very careful about what kind of infectious disease would appear at the Tokyo Olympics.
Organizers of the 2020 Olympic Games are working with the government. “Measures to deal with infectious diseases are an important part of our plan to host safe competitions”, the BTC representative of Tokyo 2020 said in a statement. The Japanese host, on 23 January, has raised the level of an infectious disease warning in Wuhan, urging citizens to avoid trips to the city.
This is not the first time fear of infectious diseases has threatened the Olympics. In 2016, the Zika virus caused some health experts to call for postponement or relocation of matches in Brazil. Until recently, Japanese health agencies were more concerned about increasing regular vaccinations before foreign visitors arrived this summer.
Ikuo Tsunoda, a microbiology professor at Kindai University, said the Coronavirus is quite dangerous, but the uncertain or incorrect information spread very quickly, but instead of trying to prevent and respond, rumors and frightening the public, causing a mess. The professor compared the new virus to the fear of mad cow disease in the early 2000s, causing Japan to ban beef imports from the United States and other countries, although there is little evidence of human transmission.