Tokyo Olympics Official Doesn't Rule Out Last-Minute Cancellation Due to COVID

Toshiro Muto, chief of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, said he is watching coronavirus infection numbers closely.

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With Tokyo having entered its 4th state of emergency in mid-July and more and more athletes in the Olympic Village testing positive for COVID, organizers announced that they have not ruled out a last-minute cancellation of the Games.

Earlier this week, while speaking to reporters at a press conference, Toshiro Muto, chief of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, said he is watching coronavirus infection numbers and plans to discuss the ongoing issue—and the potential for a cancellation—with organizers. 

"We can’t predict what will happen with the number of coronavirus cases. So we will continue discussions if there is a spike in cases," Muto said, according to CNBC. "We have agreed that based on the coronavirus situation, we will convene five-party talks again. At this point, the coronavirus cases may rise or fall, so we will think about what we should do when the situation arises."

The committee has already gone to great lengths to ensure the safety of athletes, organizers, and residents. Earlier this month, spectators were banned entirely from attending the Games—meaning Olympians would compete in empty venues to decrease the chance of super-spreader situations. 

While opposition for the event has skyrocketed among locals, Tokyo Olympic President Seiko Hashimoto promises that organizers are "sparing no efforts" to make it possible.

"I understand that there are still many worrying factors,” Hashimoto said earlier this week, per NBC. “Organizers must try to make sure that people will understand that these games are safe and secure.”

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Megan Schaltegger is a staff writer at Thrillist.