WHO Chief Hails Japan for Olympic Postponement

Berlin, March 25 (Jiji Press)--World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday hailed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the International Olympic Committee for deciding to put off the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to 2021 due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

The Japanese government and the IOC on Tuesday made "a difficult but wise decision to postpone" the Olympic Games, Tedros told a press conference in Geneva.

"I thank Prime Minister Abe and the members of the IOC for making this sacrifice to protect the health of athletes, spectators and officials," he added.

"We look forward to next year's Olympics and Paralympics, which we hope will be an even bigger and better celebration of our shared humanity," he said. The 2020 Tokyo Paralympics will also be moved back to 2021 in line with the postponement of the Olympics.

To slow the spread of the virus, many countries have introduced "unprecedented measures at significant social and economic cost," such as closing schools and businesses, canceling sporting events and asking people to stay home.

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Jiji Press