The International Paralympic Committee said Thursday it will stay the course in preparations for this summer's Tokyo Games despite mounting concerns over the spread of coronavirus in Japan.
While the current virus outbreak has dealt a major blow to the sports world, causing cancelations and postponement of events, the Paralympics' governing body said it has not considered altering the preparation schedule for the games, which open on Aug. 25.
"Preparations by the IPC and Tokyo 2020 (organizers) for this summer's Paralympic Games continue as planned," IPC Director of Media and Communications Craig Spence said in a statement.
"Countermeasures against infectious diseases constitute an important part of Tokyo 2020's plans to host a safe and secure games," he said. "We have full confidence that the relevant authorities, in particular in Japan and China, will take all the necessary measures to address the situation."
With fears of a COVID-19 pandemic rising, speculation has been rife about whether this summer's Tokyo Games can be held as scheduled. The Japanese capital marked six months until the opening of the Paralympics earlier this week.
Local organizers said Wednesday a Paralympic boccia test event will be held without high-level athletes to protect their health.
The Japanese Para-Swimming Federation also canceled a meet that was to be a qualifier for the Tokyo Games. Meanwhile, Britain's wheelchair rugby team has called off a training camp in Kitakyushu in southwestern Japan in response to the outbreak.
The IPC said it has been in regular contact with the World Health Organization, the International Olympic Committee and health experts about the situation.
While IOC President Thomas Bach said Thursday the body is "fully committed" to the Olympics going ahead on schedule, Spence said if the IOC decides to postpone or cancel the games, it will also impact the Paralympics.
The opening ceremony of the Olympics is scheduled for July 24. However, the CEO of the local organizing committee has said the torch relay, which is scheduled to kick off next month, could be downsized in order to reduce the risk of further spreading the virus.