HomeLifestyleTokyo Marathon takes place on deserted streets as fans stay away in their droves due to fear of coronavirus – The Sun
Tokyo Marathon takes place on deserted streets as fans stay away in their droves due to fear of coronavirus – The Sun
A MUCH QUIETER version of one of the world's biggest races took to the streets of Tokyo on Sunday March 1 as officials for the marathon put strict measures in place amid coronavirus fears.
The event was cut back to around 200 elite runners – a huge contrast to 30,000 plus who usually take part.
The choice to cut down on participation numbers and restrict high volumes of people from watching is in hope that the risk of the virus spreading will reduce.
The number of volunteers for the event were also reduced, with spectators being advised to ''support through TV and radio.
Wall Street Journal reporter Alastair Gale posted on his Twitter page, showing a member of the race staff holding up a warning sign to the public at train station exits, reading: ''Please refrain from coming to watch.''
Those who risked attending, wore face masks.
Ethiopian Birhanu Legese won Sunday's race for the second consecutive year, clocking a time of two hours, four minutes and 15 seconds.
Lonah Korlima Chemtai Salpeter of Israel won the women's race, clocking a course record time of two hours, 17 minutes and 45 seconds.
Staff and competitors were supplied with masks and hand sanitizer.
Japan has recorded more than 940 confirmed cases of the virus, including 705 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship which was quarantined in Yokohama.
Several of the 1,000 passengers on board who tested negative were freed from the ship after being stuck in quarantine for two weeks.
They have since tested positive, causing many to call the quarantine effort ineffective.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are due to begin on July 24 and run until August 9.
Organisers of the event as well as the International Olympic Committee [IOC] have said on many occasions that they Games will go ahead.
But, IOC chief Dick Pound has warned that could change IF the virus is not under control.
The event expects to see around 11,000 people taking part, from all over the world.
However, scenes such as those witnessed on Sunday are a cause for major concern if the Olympics are set to be anything like that.
It is fair to say for that reason among others, the coronavirus has cast doubts over the Olympics.
Still, with less than four months to go, officials so far say they are not worried, as they are taking the lead of the World Health Organisation at this point.
The Tokyo 2020 torch relay which was due to travel across Japan from March 26 is being pushed back to a later date, but there is no decision on calling off events.
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