China virus spread could throw cold water on 2020 Games – Chief

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Tokyo – spread of a new Coronavirus could throw “cold growing momentum of 2020 ,” Tokyo Organising Committee Chief Executive , Toshiro Muto said on Wednesday.

am seriously concerned … hope this be resolved as soon as possible,” Muto said at a meeting in Tokyo with organisers of Paralympic .

Japanese government officials including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had said the government would work hard to minimise any impact from the virus outbreak on the , which starts on July 24.

The toll from the flu-like virus that originated in China’ central city of Wuhan has passed 490, as . airlines suspended flights to Hong Kong following the first fatality there and 10 cases were confirmed on a quarantined Japanese cruise ship.

Vaccines against the virus probably would not be ready by the start of the Tokyo Summer Olympics, a who looked at health risks ahead of the Games told Reuters, adding that he hoped there enough time to build defences.

Saburo Kawabuchi, head of the Athletes’ Village for the 2020 Olympics, said he hoped the games would proceed smoothly, free from the virus.

Separately, Japan Sports Agency has started examining the impact of the virus on preparations by athletes for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, NHK, Japan’ broadcasting organisation reported.

Several qualifying events including badminton and boxing have been postponed due to the virus.