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IOC voices concern over spread of novel coronavirus ahead of 2020 Olympics in Japan

The upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo are scheduled to be held between July 24 and August 9

MOSCOW, January 29. /TASS/. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is closely monitoring the situation before the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo regarding reports on the spread of the novel coronavirus and maintains a permanent contact with the World Health Organization (WHO) on this issue, the IOC press office said in a statement to TASS.

The 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo are scheduled to be held between July 24 and August 9.

"Countermeasures against infectious diseases constitute an important part of Tokyo 2020’s plans to host a safe and secure Games," the statement from the IOC reads.

"Tokyo 2020 will continue to collaborate with all relevant organizations, which carefully monitor any incidence of infectious diseases and will review any countermeasures that may be necessary with all relevant organizations," according to the IOC.

"In addition, the IOC is in contact with the World Health Organization, as well as its own medical experts," the press office of the IOC added.

On December 31, 2019, Chinese authorities informed the World Health Organization (WHO) about an outbreak of an unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, a large trade and industrial center in China populated by 11 million people. On January 7, 2020, Chinese experts identified the infecting agent as coronavirus 2019-nCoV.

The new strain of coronavirus has already been identified in Australia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Canada, Malaysia, Nepal, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, the United States, Thailand, France, Germany, Sri Lanka and Japan. The World Health Organization recognized the pneumonia outbreak in China as a national emergency but stopped short of declaring it an international one. WHO specialists were dispatched to China.

According to China’s authorities, the number of infection cases has exceeded the figure of 6,000, while the number of fatalities is over 130. The condition of about 1,240 patients is estimated as serious. More than 9,200 people are exhibiting symptoms of the infection, but their diagnosis has not been confirmed yet. Almost 60,000 more people have been quarantined.

The scale of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus spread has exceeded the 2002-2003 outbreak of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), which lasted for half a year. At that time, 5,327 people were infected, and 349 cases were lethal.