Tokyo Marathon Foundation on Monday said that they are cancelling the amateur portion of the marathon that was scheduled to be held on March 1, over fear about the spread of the new coronavirus. Tokyo Marathon Foundation on Monday released a public statement where they said that the event will now be held for elite runners and elite wheelchair participants only. The decision came amid the spread of the COVID-19 which has killed more than 1,800 people in China and at least one in Japan.
Tokyo Marathon Foundation in its statement said, "Organisers have been preparing for the Tokyo Marathon 2020 (Sunday, March 1) while implementing preventive safety measures, however, now that case of COVID-19 has been confirmed within Tokyo, we cannot continue to launch the event within the scale we originally anticipated." The foundation in its statement further informed that the Family Run 2020, Friendship Run 2020, 1MILEs 2020 and other amateur events have been called off due to the outbreak.
According to media reports, the new coronavirus has infected more than 71,000 people in China since it first broke out in December last year. The United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) had earlier said that the virus has already spread to 27 countries, including as far as western Europe. As per reports, the coronavirus originated from a seafood market in China's Wuhan city, the believed epicentre of the disease. Media reports also stated that animals were being traded illegally in the market from where the disease originated.
The coronavirus has claimed more lives than its predecessor Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). According to reports, SARS, which broke out in China in 2002-2003 had claimed more than 774 lives, which is way below the current death toll from COVID-19. According to reports, China on February 13 reported the highest number of deaths caused by the virus in a single day as 254 people died in Hubei province.