As the Coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China and has killed at least 3,120 people around the globe, spreads, a lot of major public events like Facebooks's annual F8 conference, or the World Athletics Indoor Championships have been cancelled or postponed and the same can be expected for future ones. But an even bigger public event, the Tokyo Olympics, scheduled from Friday the 24th of July to Sunday the 9th of August 2020, is upcoming and the question, if the Olympic games 2020 will take place as planned, is becoming increasingly frequent.
In a conference call with the World Health Organization and dozens of medical officers for the international sports federations that run the competitions at the Olympics, one of the discussed solutions would be having fan-free competitions to limit the risk of infection. Yet it remains unclear what the decisions made about the Olympics will be, though Seiko Hashimoto, Japan's Olympic minister, said that Japan wasn´t planning on cancelling the Games. Having fan-free competitions would on one hand mean that the risk of spreading the virus will be controlled and peolple's safety will be guaranteed. On the other hand the lack of spectators will have a big impact on the japanese economy. For example, according to the organizing committee the refund of ticket sales could cost Tokyo organizers around $850 million, in addition to there being less tourists in attendance than expected.
Besides the lost revenue and the lack of tourists, Tokyo residents are also concerned about their health and possible contamination.
"The Japanese are worried about everyone, not only about foreigners, since the virus has already spread everywhere", according to Noah Nakajima, a local economics student. Despite all the worries and precautions, he has the impression that the Olympic Games will still take place, and says: "If the Olympics are cancelled, the economic loss will be too large, so I think that they will take place anyway as it is a huge and famous event that has existed for many years and can't be cancelled that easily, especially because there was already so much money spent on advertisement and preparations." He believes that during the competitions, schools and amusement parks like Disneyland will be closed and restrictions in terms of public transportations will be made to keep the infection risk controlled and help the government to manage hosting the Games.
It is not yet confirmed wether the Olympics will take place normally or if they will be postponed or even cancelled, since the International Olympic Committee (I.O.C.) still hasn't given a statement regarding the topic. However, according to Japanese residents, they aren't likely to be cancelled, though restrictions in multiple areas may be made. Until an official statement is issued, Olympic fans have to be patient and wait for further information about the event.