Delaying Olympics will involve ‘massive’ costs, organizers say

Tokyo 2020 Olympics CEO Toshiro Muto says the coronavirus outbreak leaves organizers with a logistical headache. (AFP / Behrouz Mehri)
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Updated 27 March 2020

Delaying Olympics will involve ‘massive’ costs, organizers say

  • Nikkei daily says organizers estimate the new schedule will cost an extra $2.7 billion
  • Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori hopeful Tokyo 2020 staff “will rise to the occasion"

TOKYO: Rescheduling the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will involve “massive” additional costs, organizers of the Games conceded Thursday as they convened a task force to begin working on the “unprecedented” and complex task.

The historic decision to postpone the Games over the new coronavirus outbreak leaves organizers with a logistical headache as they work to shift the enormous event to an as-yet-undecided date next year.

“One by one, we need to ensure the problems we face can be solved,” Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said in opening remarks at the first meeting of the task force.

“Additional expenses are going to be quite massive we assume. With regards to our revenues, we need to make a lot of effort there,” he added.

Muto gave no estimates for how much the process of postponing the Olympic and Paralympic Games could cost.

B Those costs could still come down depending on the outcome of negotiations, the business daily reported.

Muto said organizers would not rip up their existing plans, but added: “I guess we need to step back a bit.”

“Sometimes you need to go back to the drawing board,” he said.

The Olympics have never faced this much disruption in peacetime, and the decision to delay the event has created unprecedented challenges, Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori said.

Tokyo 2020 staff “will experience difficulties they have never experienced before. I am sure they will rise to the occasion. This is going to be a very difficult task that we are facing,” he said.

No deadlines have yet been set for the rescheduling of the Games, which are now due to take place by summer 2021, but Mori said he would ensure “all the decisions are made as quickly as possible.” 

Muto underscored the scale of the task ahead, saying even he “didn’t imagine at all we would be tested to this degree.” 

“We want to make sure we go beyond this test and that next year in Tokyo, the torch is lit for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We believe this is the mission we face.”


Mercedes F1 team helps to develop breathing aid in pandemic

Updated 30 March 2020

Mercedes F1 team helps to develop breathing aid in pandemic

  • New breathing aid similar to those used in Italy, China to fight coronavirus symptoms
  • Lack of ventilators a major concern as coronavirus cases increase

LONDON: Formula One team Mercedes has helped to develop a breathing aid that could keep coronavirus patients out of intensive care and ease some pressure on Britain’s strained health service.
As part of a combined effort involving seven Britain-based teams, Mercedes worked with engineers at the University College London and clinicians at University College London Hospital to adapt and improve a device that bridges the gap between an oxygen mask and the need for full ventilation.
The device, known as continuous positive airway pressure, has been used extensively in hospitals in Italy and China to deliver oxygen to the lungs of coronavirus patients during the pandemic.
UCL said the adapted devices have been recommended for use in Britain and that 100 of them are being sent to its hospital for clinical trials. There is the potential for quick roll-out by Mercedes to hospitals across the country.
Tim Baker, a professor from UCL’s department of mechanical engineering, said clinicians called on the “capability of Formula One” to reduce a process “that could take years down to a matter of days,” with the adapted device taking less than 100 hours to develop from an initial meeting.
“We have been proud to put our resources at the service of UCL,” said Andy Cowell, managing director of Mercedes, “to deliver the CPAP project to the highest standards and in the fastest possible time frame.”
The technology arms of six other teams — Red Bull, Haas, McLaren, Renault, Williams and Racing Point — contributed to the developing of the CPAP devices, as part of what F1 has labeled “Project Pitlane.”
The teams say they will continue to pool their resources and “support in other areas requiring rapid, innovative technology responses to the unique challenges posed” by the pandemic.
The CPAP machines work by pushing a mix of oxygen and air into the mouth and nose at a continuous rate, helping to increase the amount of oxygen entering the lungs. They are used routinely by Britain’s National Health Service but are in short supply currently.
There have been almost 20,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Britain, with more than 1,200 deaths.
For most people, the new virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
The F1 season has yet to start, with the first eight races of the schedule having been postponed or canceled. It means there will be no racing until the middle of June at the earliest.
Mercedes is the leading team in F1, with defending champion Lewis Hamilton as its top driver.