Tokyo delays Olympic volunteer training because of coronavirus

TOKYO -- While again stating there are no plans to cancel or delay the Tokyo Olympics, local organizers postponed training sessions for volunteers on Friday for at least two months because of the coronavirus outbreak spreading from China.

About 80,000 people are needed at the Olympics to provide free work, which the International Olympic Committee calls "key support to ensure the success of the Games."

Tokyo organizers said the postponed sessions are "part of efforts to prevent the spread of infection of the novel coronavirus."

Training will be postponed until May or later, organizers said on their website. More than 200,000 people applied to be volunteers, with about one-third from outside Japan. The Olympics are scheduled to run from July 24-Aug. 9.

The IOC, local organizers and the World Health Organization have repeatedly said there is no current need to put the Games in doubt.

The virus, also known as COVID-19, has caused the deaths of about 2,250 people since it emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. Up to Friday, three deaths and more than 700 cases -- most from a quarantined cruise ship docked in Tokyo Bay -- had been reported in Japan.

"There are no considerations of canceling the Games nor will the postponements of these [training] activities have an impact on the overall Games preparation," Tokyo organizers said.

Still, plans for some Olympic-related promotions and preparation could change.

"In accordance with the government's policy for preventing the spread of infectious diseases, we will also evaluate the immediate need for each Games-related event on a case-by-case basis," organizers said.