Organizers of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo are considering to put in place curbs on athletes taking part in pre-olympics marathon amid the coronavirus outbreak, Japanese media reported on Monday.
The Tokyo Marathon management decided that only elite athletes, including wheelchair racers, would be allowed to take part in the event, Kyodo News quoted sources as saying.
Japan is hosting the 2020 Olympics but the spread of the virus, officially known as Covid-19, which originated in Wuhan, China last December and has since claimed over 1,700 lives, overshadowed one of the world’s biggest sports events.
As many as 38,000 athletes are scheduled to compete in the pre-Olympics marathon next month. However, the organizers decided to stop those in the "general participants" category from taking part.
The March 1 event will double as qualifier for the 2020 games.
The epidemic, which has also killed at least three people outside mainland China, one each in Japan, France, and Philippines, is said to have been transmitted to humans from animals, particularly bats.
It has spread to at least 25 other countries including the U.S., the U.K., Singapore, France, Russia, and India.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak an international health emergency.