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Virologist hints uncertainty of Olympics happening due to virus

Dr. Hitoshi Oshitani said the Games probably couldn't take place tomorrow. He's more hopeful for July but says it depends on the situation.

TOKYO, Japan — While organizers say this summer's Olympic Games in Tokyo are still a go despite concerns about the fast-spreading coronavirus from China, a respected Japanese virologist is throwing up a sign of caution, saying it may depend on what the situation is when July comes around.

Dr. Hitoshi Oshitani, a former adviser with the World Health Organization who worked on the SARS outbreak almost 20 years ago, said the Games could not go on if they were scheduled to start tomorrow. But they don't begin until July 24, While he remained hopeful, it came with uncertainty.

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Oshitani warned that if a new outbreak were to begin around that time in Africa or other parts of Asia, and those cases came to Japan,“it may get difficult to have" the Olympics, according to the Associated Press. But he also said Japan might be prepared by then to handle such an outbreak.

Oshitani said Japan should support other countries to make sure they don't have their own outbreak, AP reported.

Shigeru Omi, a former WHO official, also warned this week that nobody can predict if the current outbreak will be under control by the time the Olympics begins, according to AP.