Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe acknowledged for the first time today that the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo could be postponed.
Abe, speaking before Japan’s Budget Committee in the Upper Level of Parliament, broke with his past stance on adamantly supporting a full and complete Olympic Games this summer despite a global pandemic of the coronavirus, hoping the spread of the virus would dissipate as the opening of the Olympics grew closer on July 24.
The International Olympic Committee, which will make the ultimate decision, said Sunday it will make a final decision within four weeks because of the coronavirus-outbreak-03-23-20-intl-hnk/h_2be476beb56e6b6435484f0aeb0bac70″ target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>difficulties of rescheduling a massive global sporting event like the Olympics.
“The IOC’s decision is along the lines of what I said before, of holding the event in its complete form. If that becomes difficult – and thinking first about the health of the athletes – we may have no option but to consider postponing the Games,” Abe said.
His abrupt change was most likely influenced by growing pressure from several countries to postpone the Games until the summer of 2021. USA Swimming and USA Gymnastics have both previously called on Japan and the IOC to postpone the Olympics.
But on Sunday, Canada and Australia announced separately that they would not be sending any athletes to compete in Tokyo this summer, a decision likely to be followed by numerous countries and all but forcing the IOC’s hand.
“While we recognize the inherent complexities around a postponement, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community,” the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee said in a joint statement Sunday. “This is not solely about athlete health — it is about public health.”
The Australian Olympic Committee’s executive board met by teleconference Monday and unanimously agreed that an Australian Olympic team could not be assembled.
“It’s clear the Games can’t be held in July,” Ian Chesterman, Australian Team Chef de Mission for Tokyo, said in a statement. “Our athletes have been magnificent in their positive attitude to training and preparing, but the stress and uncertainty has been extremely challenging for them.”
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WTTC Launches Global Safety Stamp to Propel Post-COVID-19 Recovery
The new mark will recognize governments and businesses which have adopted WTTC’s health and hygiene protocols, known as “Safe Travels,” which are backed by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
Hotels, restaurants, airlines, airports, cruise lines, tour operators, outdoor shops and transportation providers will be able to showcase the stamp once WTTC protocols have been implemented.
Saudi Arabia; Barcelona and Seville, Spain; Portugal and Cancun, Mexico are among the first destinations to adopt the stamp, which recognizes the establishment of protocols based on guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“We have learned from past crises that global standard protocols and consistency provide confidence for the traveler. Our new global safety stamp is designed to help rebuild consumer confidence worldwide,” said Gloria Guevara, WTTC President and CEO, in a statement. “We are excited that Saudi Arabia, which is Chair of the G20 tourism group, as well as popular destinations such as Cancun, one of the biggest destinations in the world, Portugal, one of the fastest-growing countries in Europe and the holiday cities of Barcelona and Seville, amongst others, are among the first destinations to back the stamp and implement global standard protocols to recover faster.”
“Now travelers will be able to recognize the businesses and destinations worldwide which have adopted the new set of global protocols that will encourage the return of ‘Safe Travels’ around the world,” she added. “It will, in turn, help the Travel & Tourism sector to reopen for business and move in a coordinated approach.”
“Implementation by governments around the world will restore much-needed confidence in order to restart the Travel & Tourism industry.”
Thailand recently launched the Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA) Certification Program to identify restaurants, hotels, travel agents and other businesses that meet approved COVID-19 hygiene and quality controls.
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