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IOC member says 2020 Olympics cancellation possible due to coronavirus spread

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

MOSCOW, February 25. /TASS/. Richard Pound, a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), believes the Organizing Committee Tokyo-2020 should come with safety guarantees for the 2020 Summer Olympics before the end of May, otherwise "you’re probably looking at a cancellation" in view of the novel coronavirus spread, Associated Press reported on Tuesday.

"You could certainly go to two months out if you had to," Pound said in an interview with Associated Press. "A lot of things have to start happening."

"You've got to start ramping up your security, your food, the Olympic Village, the hotels, the media folks will be in there building their studios," the agency quoted Pound as saying.

Pound, who has served as a member of the IOC since 1978, called on athletes not to think about the possible cancellation and carry on with their trainings and preparations for the 2020 Summer Olympics.

"As far as we all know you're going to be in Tokyo," he stated. "All indications are at this stage that it will be business as usual."

"So keep focused on your sport and be sure that the IOC is not going to send you into a pandemic situation," Pound added.

The 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo are scheduled to be held between July 24 and August 9 and the 2020 Summer Paralympic Games will run between August 25 and September 6. 

On December 31, 2019, the Chinese authorities reported to the World Health Organization about an outbreak of pneumonia of unknown etiology in Wuhan, an economic and industrial megalopolis with a population of 11 million.

The virus was identified on January 7 as 2019-nCoV. As of today, 40 countries and territories, including Russia, have reported confirmed coronavirus cases.

The World Health Organization declared the new coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, characterizing it as an epidemic with multiple locations. WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated on February 11 that the organization gave the novel coronavirus an official name of COVID-19.

According to the latest reports, over 80,370 cases of patients infected with the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in China and other countries. The virus’ death toll has hit the number of 2,707, yet more than 27,900 patients have recovered from the disease.