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The logo for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is seen in Tokyo on February 15, 2020. Photographer: Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images

An Olympics without spectators? It could happen.

The logo for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is seen in Tokyo on February 15, 2020. Photographer: Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization and sports federations last week discussed worst-case scenarios for the Tokyo Olympic Games, including holding the events without spectators, the New York Times reported Friday.

The World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters building in Geneva, Switzerland.
(Photo: AP/Raphael Satter)

The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo officials have insisted the games will begin July 24 as scheduled. Cancellation “could knock about 1.4 per cent off” Japan’s economy, SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. Chief Economist Junichi Makino wrote in a research note published on Friday. Combined with a prolonged public emergency, he said, “we expect the next profits of listed companies would decline by about 24.4 per cent max.”

On the call, a WHO expert said it would be important to screen participants and create risk profiles for countries and regions, the newspaper reported, citing unnamed people familiar with the call.

The logo for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is seen in Tokyo on February 15, 2020. Photographer: Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images

Several major international sporting events have been cancelled as part of measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, including the Hong Kong Sevens international rugby tournament and annual Singapore Yacht Show.

Tarik Jasarevic, spokesman for the WHO, declined to comment to the Times, the newspaper reported. The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee has been holding discussions with athletes, sponsors, and other stakeholders about alternative plans for the games, the Times said, citing the group’s spokesman.