IOC stands firm on Tokyo Games despite coronavirus concerns

SHOWS: LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND (MARCH 3, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

1. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IOC SPOKESPERSON, MARK ADAMS, SAYING:

"We would prefer to stick to the advice from the experts and to stick to the advice of those who know and we still see no reason to think other than that we will be going ahead."

2. WHITE FLASH

3. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IOC SPOKESPERSON, MARK ADAMS, SAYING: (RESPONDING TO QUESTION IF IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO CHOOSE A NEW CITY TO HOST THE 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES)

"Elsewhere? There I would think so (it's impossible to choose a new host city). I'm not an expert but I would think so. We're not even worrying, thinking about that because we're planning to have the Games on the 24 of July."

4. WHITE FLASH

5. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IOC SPOKESPERSON, MARK ADAMS, SAYING:

"As you know there's not even an international travel ban and still not a pandemic announced . All the advice we're getting is that the Games can and will go ahead. There are some complications and issues with qualification although thankfully National Olympic Committees and IFs are working very closely together and we seem so far to be doing a very good job of making sure our athletes can compete so at this precise time we are working, moving ahead and expecting the Games to begin on the 24 July."

STORY: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Tuesday (March 3) gave further unequivocal backing to this summer's Tokyo Olympics, urging athletes to prepare "full steam" despite the coronavirus threat.

IOC Spokesperson Mark Adams repeatedly insisted at a news conference in Lausanne that there was no Plan B, and that the Games would take place in their allotted time slot of July 24-Aug.9.

Despite concerns over possible health risks to spectators and participants at the Games, the Olympic body is unwilling to publicly discuss any other option, such as cancellation or postponement.

"There is no international travel ban and all the advice that we are getting is that the Games can and will go ahead," Adams said. "At this precise time we are expecting the Games to begin on the 24th of July."

The IOC board said a joint task force had been created two weeks ago, involving the IOC, the Tokyo Games organisers, the city, the government, and the World Health Organisation to help deal with the coronavirus ahead of the Olympics.

Tokyo has pumped in more than $12 billion to organise the event, while billions more were spent on related projects.

Tokyo Games organisers are due to deliver a report via video conference to the executive board on Wednesday.

(Production: Miguel Pereira, Tim Hart)