The Olympics are a go for 2021 regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an official.
International Olympic Committee vice president John Coates said Monday that the Tokyo Summer Games will be played as scheduled, after the 2020 plan was postponed by the novel coronavirus.
“It will take place with or without COVID. The Games will start on July 23 next year,” Coates told AFP. “The Games were going to be, their theme, the Reconstruction Games after the devastation of the tsunami [that hit northeastern Japan in 2011]. Now very much these will be the Games that conquered Covid, the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Coates said postponing the Olympics has created “a monumental task” for 2021, but sounded confident that they would be played next July despite no guarantees of a vaccine or the world having the pandemic under control by then.
A task force comprised of Japanese and IOC officials met for the first time last week to begin planning for 2021, according to the report.
“Their job now is to look at all the different counter-measures that will be required for the Games to take place,” Coates said. “Some countries will have it (Covid) under control, some won’t. We’ll have athletes therefore coming from places where it’s under control and some where it is not.
“There’s 206 teams… so there’s a massive task being undertaken on the Japanese side.”
Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto also recently said they hope to avoid an Olympics with no spectators, but reiterated that a vaccine would not be necessary in order for the Games to be held.
“If a vaccine is ready, that will be a benefit, but we’re not saying we can’t hold the event without it — it’s not a precondition,” Muto said, according to BBC.