The latest strengthening of the Australian government's travel warning for people going to Japan has not changed the position for the nation's athletes and swimmers.
A worsening of the coronavirus situation in Japan prompted the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade at the weekend to raise the alert level for people travelling to Japan.
Coronavirus fears: People wear face masks in Tokyo as the countdown clock to the Olympic Games ticks down.Credit:AP
"Based on advice from Australia's chief medical officer, we now recommend you 'exercise a high degree of caution' in Japan due to a heightened risk of sustained local transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19),” DFAT said in relation to the Japan advisory.
Athletics Australia and Swimming Australia are both closely monitoring the DFAT and World Health Organisation advice but have not yet altered their advice to athletes four months out from the Olympics.
Both sports are also taking a lead from the Australian Olympic Committee, which is likewise monitoring the situation but has not yet altered advice to sports.
The AOC said it was still planning on the basis of the Tokyo Games going ahead.
"Australian health authorities have not implemented any travel restrictions in relation to Japan, however the novel coronavirus is a serious matter which the AOC will be taking into account in our preparations for Tokyo," an AOC spokesperson said.
"We need to be vigilant and concerned – but it's important that people remain calm and don't overreact. Whether the coronavirus has any impact on the Tokyo Olympics will be a decision for the IOC (International Olympic Committee), not a decision for individual NOCs (national olympics committees)."
The IOC was being regularly advised by the World Health Organisation and the Tokyo Games Organising Committee.
AOC chairman John Coates is also chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for the Tokyo Games.
"The AOC places athlete safety and wellbeing at the forefront of all of our activities," the AOC spokesperson said.
AA chief executive Darren Gocher said the sport was concerned and was watching the situation closely, and noted the DFAT advice had not yet warned people not to go to Japan.
He said athletes with concerns could also speak with chief medical officer Dr Paul Blackman regarding the virus and risks.
Swimming Australia chief executive Leigh Russell said the organisation was monitoring the situation closely and the welfare of the athletes remained paramount. But like most sports they would take direction from the AOC as the Games drew closer.
The Tokyo Olympics are still four months away and the pace of change regarding the virus has made all authorities wary about making long-term predictions.
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