The Tokyo Olympics are to be delayed by a year in the first postponement since the modern Games began in the 19th century, becoming the biggest global event to be disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he and International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach agreed in a telephone call last night to delay the Games, which were scheduled to begin in July.
“The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will not be canceled,” Abe told reporters in Tokyo after the call, adding that they would be held by the summer of next year.
The coronavirus pandemic has made it all but impossible for aspiring Olympians to train and, in many cases, qualify for a July event.
Abe said that he received 100 percent support from Bach to delay the international sports event.
They agreed to work closely to hold the Games in complete form, symbolizing humanity’s victory over the coronavirus, he said.
Meanwhile, WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said in Geneva that there had been a “very large acceleration” in coronavirus infections in the US, which had the potential of becoming the new epicenter.
Over the previous 24 hours, 85 percent of new cases were from Europe and the US, she told reporters, adding that 40 percent were from the US.
Asked whether the US could become the new epicenter, Harris said: “We are now seeing a very large acceleration in cases in the US So it does have that potential. We cannot say that is the case yet but it does have that potential.”
China’s Hubei Province, the original epicenter of the outbreak, is to lift travel curbs on people leaving the area, but other regions are to tighten controls as new cases doubled on Monday from Sunday to 78 due to imported infections.
The provincial capital, Wuhan, which has been in total lockdown since Jan. 23, would see its travel restrictions lifted on April 8.
On the economic side, business activity this month collapsed from Australia and Japan to western Europe at a record pace, with data for the US later yesterday expected to be just as dire.
“The coronavirus outbreak represents a major external shock to the macro outlook, akin to a large-scale natural disaster,” analysts at the Blackrock Investment Institute said.
Confirmed coronavirus cases exceeded 377,000 across 194 countries and territories as of early yesterday, a Reuters tally showed, with more than 16,500 deaths linked to the virus.
Passengers on domestic flights would not be allowed to board if their temperature is more than 37.5°C or if they refuse to have their temperatures taken, Uni Air (立榮航空) and Mandarin Airlines (華信航空) said yesterday. The two airlines made the announcement after their parent companies — EVA Airways (長榮航空) and China Airlines (CAL, 中華航空) respectively — announced similar pre-boarding requirements on Saturday, along with a requirement that passengers wear masks during their flights, except when they have meals or drinks. Uni Air and Mandarin Airlines said domestic passengers would be required to wear masks from the time they start using self-help
CASE COUNT RISES: One of the new domestic cases is a nurse at a long-term care center, but so far tests on all the residents and other staff have been negative Flight transits through all Taiwanese airports would be banned for two weeks, starting tomorrow, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it announced 16 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the nation’s total to 169. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), head of the center, said all flight transits would be banned through April 7. In light of the rapidly increasing number of imported COVID-19 cases, there was a need to further reduce cross-border travel and the risk of disease transmission, the center said. The Civil Aeronautics Administration has informed airlines about the new measures, and anyone who has
A public health expert yesterday warned that too many people are meeting in small groups in coffee shops and restaurants without keeping a proper distance from one another, as he urged the government to loosen the criteria for testing young Taiwanese returning from abroad for COVID-19. People need to keep a social distance of at least 2m, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health dean Chan Chang-chuan (詹長權) said as the college presented its seventh weekly report on COVID-19 at a morning news conference. More than 300,000 confirmed cases of the virus have been reported in more than three-quarters of all
MORE CASES EXPECTED: Many young Taiwanese would be returning home over the next two weeks, as schools in many nations closed, the health minister said Twenty-six new COVID-19 cases were confirmed yesterday, including five clusters, and all but one were imported, bringing Taiwan’s total number to 195, as border controls and home quarantine measures prove their effectiveness, the head of the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said. Twelve of the new cases were in people tested at airports upon their return, 11 were in people under home quarantine and two were people who tested positive after seeking medical treatment, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said at its daily news conference. “The new domestic case is a woman who lives with