Tokyo Looks to Extend Limits on Large Events Until April 12

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
IOC has 4 weeks to make decision on Tokyo Olympics; U.S. retailers Gamestop, Best Buy close stores to customers

The Tokyo Government announced on Monday its intent to proceed with plans to extend its postponement or cancellation of large-scale events to encompass all events taking place until April 12 due to the COVID-19 coronavirus illness. The government explained that the next three weeks are critical in preventing "clusters" of infected people from gathering together and causing an "overshoot," an explosive amount of new infections.

In other news, the International Olympic Committee on Sunday announced that it has given itself a four-week deadline to decide on the next step for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but added that cancellation is "not an agenda." The committee is instead considering postponement from a few months to a year, or a "scaled-down" version of the Games. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said during a Diet committee session on Monday that the Olympics may have to be postponed if the situation makes it difficult to hold the Games.

In the United States, retailer Best Buy has closed all its locations to customers, switching to curbside pickup and delivery. Video game retailer GameStop has closed all locations nationwide to customers (for locations not already closed in general) after remaining open the last week. An internal memo to GameStop employees leaked last week that ordered employees to claim that the company is "essential retail" to law enforcement officials attempting to force stores to close. GameStop will similarly allow for curbside pickup and "eCommerce delivery only."

The first reported cases of COVID-19 were in Wuhan, China in December, and then the disease began to spread in varying rates and intensities across many parts of the globe through incubation in human hosts. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a world health emergency on January 30, and announced on March 11 that it is classifying the outbreak as a pandemic. As of Sunday, the WHO reported that there are 294,110 infected individuals worldwide. 12,944 individuals have died from the disease.

As of Sunday, the WHO reported that Japan has 1,046 cases of COVID-19 with 36 deaths. These numbers do not include the number of cases from the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama. That cruise ship had 712 infected passengers with seven deaths. The United States has a reported 15,219 cases with 201 deaths as of Sunday.

Sources: NHK (link 2) via Otakomu, BBC (Dan Roan), GameStop, Kotaku (link 2, Jason Schreier) via Siliconera (link 2, link 3), 9 to 5 Mac

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