PM Abe: Japan continues to prepare for Olympics

Japan is still preparing to host the Olympics, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on Saturday (March 14), despite growing global concern over the coronavirus outbreak.

The announcement comes as countries around the world shut borders and canceled public gatherings.

The Tokyo 2020 torch lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia was already held without spectators,

But Abe and his government have been adamant that the Olympics will go ahead ---

Speculations about a delay to the event which is supposed to start in July, has grown since U.S. President Donald Trump said organizers should consider a one-year postponement.

Abe and Trump held a call after those comments, but the Japanese Premiere said they had not discussed a possible delay.

Japan had 21 new coronavirus cases as of Saturday evening, bringing the country's total to over 1,440, according to public broadcaster NHK.

Countries across the world have shuttered museums, tourist attractions and sporting events to minimize the risk of transmission.

The Spanish government drafted measures for a lockdown starting Monday -- and the UK is expected to ban mass gatherings next week.

Trump declared a national emergency over the virus on Friday.

Abe said Japan did not need to declare a national emergency, although parliament on Friday approved a bill to give him emergency powers.

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