Coronavirus latest: Japan breaks silence on shocking 2020 Olympic games decision

Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto broke the news that the country was preparing for the games as normal on Thursday night. It came as doubts were raised earlier this week that a postponement was inevitable amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Before the Upper House budget committee, she said: “Cancellation or delay of the Games would be unacceptable for the athletes.

“An environment where athletes can feel at ease and focus should be firmly prepared.”

Ms Hashimoto added that organisers and the International Olympic Committee would continue to work closely together.

A string of other sporting events around the world have too been thrown into question as the virus grips more than 80 countries.

Events in France, Italy, and Switzerland have been suspended, among these, Italy and Ireland’s Six Nations this weekend.

Another event that was thought to be next in line to the coronavirus was Cheltenham Festival.

The Queen’s favourite festival, most famous for its horse racing event, will put up a fight against being cancelled, though, as the UK announced it would not yet advise on the cancellation of large events.

Cheltenham organisers told The Daily Telegraph that they are currently working “full-steam ahead” with hygiene at the festival.

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The event is reportedly in the process of sourcing more paper towels and hand sanitisers.

It also hopes to add more workers to clean its 2,200 toilets dotted around the festival grounds.

Ian Renton, regional director of Cheltenham Racecourse, said: “We’re working closely with the Department of Health to maximise hygiene facilities at the course.

“We are looking to improve it where we can and hygiene is at the centre of what we are doing.

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“Otherwise it’s full-steam ahead.”

Meanwhile, Italy’s remaining Six Nations games have been cancelled due to an explosive outbreak in the north of the country.

There, some 107 people have died from the virus, with a further 3,000 cases confirmed.

Although the majority of these are isolated to the country’s northern region, 19 of its 20 regions have been infected.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the health service risked being overwhelmed.

In Qatar, the MotoGP season opener has been shelved over fear of crowding.

Globally, about 3,200 people have died and more than 90,000 have been infected.

The World Health Organisation has stopped short of declaring a pandemic.

But, on Wednesday, Germany’s health minister said the coronavirus now met the definition – an epidemic spreading across the world through local transmission.

Jens Spahn said: ”The situation is changing very quickly.

“What’s clear is that we have not yet reached the peak of the outbreak.”

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