By Kim Kyung-hoon
Tokyo has promised to step up the testing for coronavirus before the Olympic Games between July and August.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said on Sunday at the opening of the Ariake Arena – a $330 million venue that will host the Olympic volleyball and Paralympics basketball competitions.
She pledged to do everything possible to protect people from the deadly coronavirus as the Olympics approach.
“I will implement even more comprehensive measures against infectious diseases. This weekend I will meet with other senior officials to ensure the safety of the people of Tokyo, including discussions on how to prevent the spread of the virus and how to strengthen control systems,” said Koike.
Japan has warned its citizens against non-essential travel to China, where the outbreak began.
Tokyo has intensified the adoption of new rules, including restricting entry into the country as it tries to contain spread of the coronavirus.
The Tokyo Olympics will begin on July 24, while the Paralympics start on August 25.
On Monday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe echoed Tokyo Governor’s message – empasising that his government will keep in close touch with all relevant authorities to ensure a virus outbreak does not affect the Olympics.
Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto said organisers are not considering cancelling the Games.
“We will keep in close contact with everybody, including the International Olympic Committee and the World Health Organisation to take appropriate steps and keep the coronavirus from affecting the Games,” Abe told a parliamentary committee.
The death toll from the coronavirus epidemic in China rose to 361 on Monday and a growing number of countries are reporting cases. Japan has 20 confirmed cases, 17 of which were people who had been to China or are Chinese.