Tokyo Olympics ‘may not have a plan to tackle coronavirus’

Tokyo Olympic organisers may not have planned for what to do in the case of a global disease outbreak, the man behind five successful bids has warned.

Terrence Burns, who worked on winning bids for two summer and three winter Olympics, said the bid committees are not typically asked to explain what they would do in case of a pandemic.

It comes after questions were raised over whether the Tokyo Olympics – which cost $12.6billion – will be able to go ahead amid the spread of coronavirus, which the World Health Organisation admits has the potential to become a pandemic. 

Fears have been raised that the Tokyo Olympics, which is due to begin in July, will have to be cancelled amid the coronavirus outbreak 

A brand consultant who worked on five successful Olympic bids has warned that he has never seen a plan put in place for what to do in case of a disease outbreak

A brand consultant who worked on five successful Olympic bids has warned that he has never seen a plan put in place for what to do in case of a disease outbreak

While disaster planning is part of the bid process, Mr Burns said, typical scenarios that bid cities are question on include what to do in case of a natural disaster, fire or terror attack. 

‘I’ve never seen an Olympic organising committee ask: “Are you prepared for a global pandemic?”,’ he told the New York Times. 

Mr Burns, CEO of the TBurns Sports Group, worked as the lead brand and marketing strategist for the Beijing 2008 and Los Angeles 2028 Summer Olympic bids.

He also worked on the Vancouver 2010, Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics bids, along with two World Cup bids.

Terrence Burns said that while planning for a natural disaster or terror attack is typical, planning for a pandemic is not

Terrence Burns said that while planning for a natural disaster or terror attack is typical, planning for a pandemic is not

Japanese authorities have insisted that there is ‘no thought’ of cancelling the games, but have not yet revealed what they plan to do to ensure they can go ahead. 

On Wednesday Toshiro Muto, the chief of the Tokyo organising committee said that the torch relay – which is due to start next month – could be downsized to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

‘Bringing spectators together in large numbers increases the risk of infection. Downsizing is among the approaches we can consider,’ he said.



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