WHAT DOES COVID-19 MEAN FOR THE OLYMPICS?
I am sure you are all well aware of the recent pandemic which is taking over the world- COVID-19 better known as the Coronavirus.
Coronavirus causes a severe respiratory illness which is extremely contagious, being spread by just a cough, sneeze or contact with the virus itself.
The main symptoms of the virus are a fever, coughing, high temperature, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Symptoms may not show for up to 2 weeks of contracting this disease so an incubation/self isolation period have been put into place by the World Health Organisation to help halt the spread of COVID-19.
The outbreak began in Wuhan, China- a city with a population of over 11million. The virus is believed to have originated from a "wet market" where animals such as bats, snakes, rabbits and birds were illegally sold.
The virus has spread across the globe within the matter of months. With travel, sports events and large gatherings being cancelled or postponed until the virus has calmed down.
So what does that mean for Athletics competitions and more specifically the upcoming Olympics in Tokyo?
According to Shinzo Abe- the Prime Minister of Japan, the Olympics will go ahead. No Olympics has ever been cancelled or postponed due to anything other than war. To do so for a virus would be unprecedented according to the BBC.
Dr Brian McCloskey, former public health director for London 2012, agreed it is not necessary for a cancellation to be on the cards at this stage.
He said "It is important to remember there was a huge clamour for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games to be cancelled because of the Zika virus outbreak, but those Games went ahead without any problem"
You can read more about the Coronavirus' effect on Tokyo 2020 and what more Dr McCloskey says here
But what about the athletes?
Winter training camps have been cancelled and these are a vital part of the athletes training and preparation for the games. So will this effect the quality of performance at the games?
The next preventative measure to be taken by the UK Government is to close all educational facilities and gyms and to place the country on lock down. With training facilities shutting and people being placed on lockdown it would be impossible for athletes to train to a high standard. So would top class athletes still want to compete at the Olympics without the necessary training and preparation? What about the athletes health- should that not be the main priority over the Olympics going ahead with the possibility of contaminating world class athletes?
The Olympics is an event I love. Seeing the world come together to enjoy a sport is a surreal feeling and I do feel that it is extremely unfortunate for this virus to fall on the same year as the Olympics.
For me, I don't think the Olympics should be cancelled YET as we are still 4 months away however, if the virus is still spreading at the rapid rate it is now I think it would be wise to postpone the Olympics till a later date, to allow the athletes to properly prepare and for spectators to travel to Tokyo to watch the Games in all their glory, without fear of catching this dreaded disease.