March 23, 2020 / 4:44 PM / 7 days ago

RPT-Coronavirus pandemic "accelerating", WHO says it advising Olympics on risk

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GENEVA, March 23 (Reuters) - The coronavirus pandemic is “accelerating”, with more than 300,000 cases now recorded worldwide and from nearly every country, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, called for political commitment and said he would address the Group of 20 leaders this week and ask them to work together to boost production of vital protective gear for health care workers.

Dr. Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s emergencies programme, asked about the Tokyo 2020 Games due to open on July 24, said he believed a decision would be made “very soon” regarding their future.

“We have every confidence the Japanese government and the IOC (International Olympic Committee) would not proceed with any Games if it would be dangerous to athletes and spectators,” Ryan said. (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva and Kate Kelland in London; writing by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by Gareth Jones)

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