Per The Japan Times, Japanese virology expert Kentaro Iwata has warned that, should there be a new COVID-19 outbreak in the run-up to the delayed Tokyo 2020 Games, hosting the event in the summer of 2021 might not be doable.
Iwata, who has criticized the country’s response to COVID-19, warned Monday that he is “pessimistic” over whether it will be possible to hold the postponed Olympics even in 2021.
“To be honest with you I don’t think the Olympics is likely to be held next year,” Iwata said. “Holding (the) Olympics needs two conditions: one, controlling COVID-19 in Japan and (two) controlling COVID-19 everywhere — because you have to invite the athletes and the audience from all over the world.”
Iwata rather suggests that helping factors in hosting the Games next summer include reducing the number of participating athletes or not allowing fans to enter athletic venues.
“Japan might be able to control this disease by next summer, I wish we could, but I don’t think that would happen everywhere on Earth, so in this regard I’m very pessimistic about holding the Olympics Games next summer” Iwata added.
Japan, along with the International Olympic Committee, rescheduled the Games that would’ve taken off on July of this summer to follow a similar timeframe in the summer of 2021, kicking off Jul. 24 and coming to a close Aug. 8. Following suit, the deadline for achieving qualification times had been extended until June 29, 2021.
For swimming, that means organizers will attempt to stick to the original 2020 plan to run heats in the evenings and finals in the mornings. The lineup of events should remain roughly the same as well, though nothing is officialized yet.
Earlier last week, Tokyo 2020 spokesperson Masa Takaya told journalists that there is “no Plan B,” according to the report.