International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach has said the governing body is determined the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will proceed as planned despite concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.
Per Kyodo News (h/t Agence France-Presse, via Yahoo Sports), Bach told Japanese media on Thursday the IOC "is fully committed to a successful Olympic Games in Tokyo starting July 24."
The event is schedule to run from then until August 9.
Bach added the IOC's priority "is to ensure the qualification procedure and protecting the safety of athletes at the same time. This is what we're doing in cooperation with the Japanese authorities, the World Health Organization, the Chinese Olympic Committee and many NOCS [National Olympic Committees]."
Bach's comments come after IOC member Dick Pound suggested the event might need to be cancelled:
Ben Fischer of the Sports Business Journal gave his take on Pound's comments:
Per Stephen Wade of the Associated Press, approximately 11,000 athletes are set to take part in the Games, while roughly 4,400 are expected to compete in the Paralympics, which will run from August 25 to September 6.
On February 13, organising committee president Yoshiro Mori said the IOC "are not considering a cancellation or postponement," per the Associated Press (via ESPN).
The outbreak of the coronavirus has caused disruption to sporting events worldwide.
On Tuesday, the J.League halted football activities in Japan until March 15, while Serie A has also been affected after an outbreak in Italy, with five matches set to be played behind closed doors and others postponed.
Almost 200 infections have been confirmed in Japan, while around 700 people were found to be infected on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined in Yokohama after a passenger tested positive for the virus.
More than 83,000 people have been infected across the globe, resulting in over 2,800 deaths.