Tokyo 2020: Japan Olympic Committee deputy head test positive for COVID-19

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics hangs in the balance as the world grapples with the global COVID-19 outbreak.

Japan Olympic Committee’s deputy chief, Kozo Tashima, revealed on Tuesday that he had tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as doubts mount over whether the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will go ahead.

“Today, my test result showed positive for the new coronavirus,” Tashima said in a statement, issued via the Japan Football Association, which he also heads.

Organisers had announced that they took the decision to trim parts of the Olympic torch relay due to the coronavirus. They stressed that spectators would still be allowed to watch from the roadside in some places.

So-called “welcome programmes” by local municipalities will be scrapped.

Chief executive Toshiro Muto told reporters:

“Please be careful to avoid forming crowds,” organisers urged, saying the programme could be changed in the event of “excessive congestion”.

“It is heartbreaking for us,” said Muto, referring to the changes to the relay.

He insisted that the 2020 Olympics would go ahead “as planned”, but admitted that “situations are changing from hour to hour”.

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Staff Reporter