Coronavirus: Canada pulls athletes out of 2020 Olympics in Tokyo
The Canadian Olympic Committee on Sunday said it would not send any athletes to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It urged the International Olympic Committee and the WHO to postpone the games by a year.
#TeamCanada will not send athletes to Games in summer 2020 due to COVID-19 risks.
— Team Canada (@TeamCanada) March 23, 2020
“This is not solely about athlete health — it is about public health,” said a statement by the committee. “With COVID-19 and the associated risks, it is not safe for our athletes, and the health and safety of their families and the broader Canadian community for athletes to continue training towards these Games.”
Around the world also:
South Korea: reported 64 new coronavirus infections on Monday — the lowest increase in almost a month, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).
The latest figures are part of a downward trend in new cases, with the KCDC posting daily tallies of under 100 for the past several days.
The country has 8,961 confirmed cases — 60% of them linked to a branch of the Shincheonji religious sect in the southeastern city of Daegu. A total of 111 people have died.
Australia: The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) on Monday echoed Canada’s sentiments, asking its athletes to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics to be held in the summer of 2021. The AOC said “it was clear” that the Games could not continue this year amidst the coronavirus crisis.
New Zealand: New Zealand’s prime minister says the country is shifting to its highest alert level, meaning schools, offices and nonessential services will be shut down in the next 48 hours.
“New Zealand is now preparing to go into self-isolation,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference.
Supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open, but bars, cafes, cinemas and restaurants will close.
The number of cases in New Zealand has now passed 100, with 36 new cases confirmed on Monday.
UAE: The United Arab Emirates, home to one of the world’s busiest airports, is halting all passenger and transit flights for two weeks in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The decision, reported by official state news agency WAM, is expected to take effect in 48 hours. It does not apply to cargo and emergency evacuation flights. The Gulf state’s airports in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are major international hubs connecting Europe and other Western countries to Asia and Australia.
Japan: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says postponing the Tokyo Olympic Games “may become inevitable” due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Summer Olympics in the Japanese capital are scheduled to begin on July 24. But sporting bodies around the world have called for the event to be pushed back, saying the COVID-19 outbreak has affected athlete training and Games preparation.
Abe told parliament that Japan was still committed to hosting a “complete” Games, and that canceling the event was not an option. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said it will make a decision on whether or not to postpone it in the next four weeks.
Italy: After shutting down all non-essential factories and companies in the country, Italy is looking at highly specific measures to control the coronavirus outbreak. In the hardest-hit region of Lombardy, the government has banned any exercise that cannot be carried out on personal property and set a radius for how far people can take their dogs for a walk: 200 meters. Fines for violations have been raised to €5,000 ($5,345). Two-thirds of the coronavirus-related deaths in the country have been reported from this region.
Latest figures: 59,138 infected, 5,476 deaths
Spain: Spain sought to extend its state of emergency until April 11, close to a month after it was imposed on March 14. Stating that the country is “at war,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez hinted at a larger role for the military in response to the spreading pandemic. He also added that the EU “can do and must do more” to help member nations deal with the economic impact of coronavirus
Latest figures: 28,603 infected, 1,756 deaths
France: A 67-year-old emergency room medic became the first medical professional to die of coronavirus in the country. In light of the spike in COVID-19 fatalities, the French government is imposing tougher penalties on people who defy the nationwide confinement order. Penalties may range from €135 to €3,700 ($145 to $3,960). A prison term of six months has also been approved for repeat offenses.
Latest figures: 14,485 infected, 562 deaths