MOSCOW, March 24. /TASS/. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced its decision to postpone for a period of one year the 2020 Summer Paralympics in Japan due to the ongoing global spread of the novel coronavirus, the IPC press service said in a statement on Tuesday.
The 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo were scheduled to be held between July 24 and August 9, and the 2020 Summer Paralympic Games were planned to be organized between August 25 and September 6.
"Postponing the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games as a result of the global COVID-19 outbreak is absolutely the right thing to do," the statement quotes IPC President Andrew Parsons as saying.
According to Parsons: "Sport is not the most important thing right now, preserving human life is."
"It is essential therefore that all steps are taken to try and limit the spread of this disease," he continued. "The COVID-19 outbreak is now impacting nearly every country in the world and the number of known cases has increased almost five times over in the last 10 days to 375,000."
"By taking this decision now, everyone involved in the Paralympic Movement, including all Para athletes, can fully focus on their own health and well-being and staying safe during this unprecedented and difficult time," the IPC president stated.
"When the Paralympic Games do happen in Tokyo next year, they will be a spectacular global celebration of humanity coming together again as one," IPC head Parsons added. "In the meantime, we will liaise and work closely with our athlete community, National Paralympic Committees and International Federation impacted by this postponement."
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), held a telephone conversation on Tuesday discussing the expediency of organizing the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo this summer in view of the COVID-19 continuous global spread.
COVID-19 Global Spread
On December 31, 2019, the Chinese authorities reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) 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. The World Health Organization declared in January that the new coronavirus outbreak was a public health emergency of international concern, characterizing it as an epidemic with multiple locations.
On February 11, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that the organization gave the novel coronavirus an official name of COVID-19. On March 11, the World Health Organization officially stated that the continuously spreading novel coronavirus was a global pandemic.
As of today, 196 countries and territories reported confirmed coronavirus cases. According to the latest reports, over 398,790 cases have been confirmed worldwide. The virus’ death toll has reached 17,259, yet more than 103,740 patients have recovered from the disease.
"The health and well-being of human life must always be our number one priority and staging a sport event of any kind during this pandemic is simply not possible," the IPC president added.