WHO, Sports Groups Discuss Olympics Without Spectators: NYT

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(Bloomberg) -- The World Health Organization and sports federations last week discussed worst-case scenarios for the Tokyo Olympic Games, including holding the events without spectators, the New York Times reported Friday.

The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo officials have insisted the games will begin July 24 as scheduled. Cancellation “could knock about 1.4% off” Japan’s economy, SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. Chief Economist Junichi Makino wrote in a research note published on Friday. Combined with a prolonged public emergency, he said, “we expect the next profits of listed companies would decline by about 24.4% max.”

On the call, a WHO expert said it would be important to screen participants and create risk profiles for countries and regions, the newspaper reported, citing unnamed people familiar with the call.

Several major international sporting events have been canceled as part of measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, including the Hong Kong Sevens international rugby tournament and annual Singapore Yacht Show.

Tarik Jasarevic, spokesman for the WHO, declined to comment to the Times, the newspaper reported. The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee has been holding discussions with athletes, sponsors, and other stakeholders about alternative plans for the games, the Times said, citing the group’s spokesman.

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