Japan's Abe pledges anti-virus steps ahead of Olympics

Tokyo Olympics 2020 (File)
Tokyo Olympics 2020 (File)

Tokyo - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday vowed the outbreak of a new virus that has killed more than 360 people in neighbouring China will not have any impact on the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this summer.

Abe said he will work with international officials including the World Health Organisation (WHO) to ensure preparations for the games are not disrupted.

"By coordinating our efforts with the WHO and other related agencies, we will take appropriate steps so that preparations to hold the events will steadily continue," Abe told a parliamentary session.

Japan's sports and Olympic officials will hold a meeting later this week to discuss the outbreak and Tokyo's efforts to prevent a further spread, Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto said.

Japanese officials are scrambling to control the virus, warning citizens against non-essential travel to China and refusing entry to foreigners who have recently visited Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak.

No deaths have been reported in Japan so far.

The government chartered three flights to repatriate 565 Japanese nationals from Wuhan, the central Chinese city hardest hit by the virus.

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike has separately pledged to take stringent measures against infectious diseases.

The health scare has led to the cancellation of Olympic qualifying events in China including boxing and badminton.

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