TOKYO'S Olympic organisers have repeatedly said they are focused on holding a safe Olympics and  Paralympics with the IOC's full backing.

TOKYO : the International Olympic Committee is ''fully committed'' to holding the 2020 Games in Tokyo as planned despite the widening new coronavirus outbreaks, the body's president has pledged.

The IOC ''is fully committed to a successful Olympic Games in Tokyo starting July 24th'', Thomas Bach told Japanese media in a conference call late Thursday, according to Kyodo News.

''The preparations for the Olympic Games are continuing with a view to having successful Olympic Games this summer in Tokyo and to reassure the athletes and to encourage them to go ahead full steam with regard to their training and their preparation for for what we expect to be very successful Games,'' said Bach.

The comments came as the viral outbreak across Japan and dozens of other countries has fueled concerns about the Summer Games, with a swathe of other sports events postponed or cancelled.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has stepped up national measures to contain the virus, calling on organisers of large events to consider cancelling or delaying them.

Everything from football matches and music concerts to the rituals that mark the opening of the March sumo tournament have been affected.

On Thursday last, Abe requested a nearly month-long closure of schools in a drive to curb the spread of COVID-19, linked to four deaths so far among nearly 200 known infections among the general Japanese public.

Some 700 infections were also detected among about 3,700 passengers and crew on a cruise ship that was quarantined off Japan after one of its former passengers tested positive.

Back avoided directly addressing comments by senior IOC member Dick Pound, who hinted the  Games could be cancelled if health authorities block travel.

Pound also said, however, there has been no formal discussion among IOC members about cancelling the Games.

 ''I think the facts speak for themselves, and we should also not forget that Dick Pound also said that the IOC is fully committed to have the opening ceremony there on July 24th in Tokyo,'' Bach said.

Bach said the priority now ''is to ensure that qualification procedure and protecting the safety of athletes at the same time'', according to Kyodo.

''This is what we are doing in cooperation with the Japanese authorities, the World Health Organisation, the Chinese Olympic Committee and many NOCS,'' Bach said, referring to national Olympic committees.

''We have seen the Japanese authorities taking very important measures. We appreciate the close cooperation with the organising committee, which is doing everything to ensure the safety of the athletes and all the visitors to Japan. We also see in this respect, again, the great solidarity of the world to contribute to the safety of the games and and contribute to successful Games.''

Disruptions caused by the virus has affected Olympic qualifying in several sports, including football, boxing, badminton, handball and wrestling and sailing.[Agencies]


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