After weeks of speculation, the news, that sportspersons and fans alike throughout the world dreaded, has been announced- Tokyo Olympics are officially suspended. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced today that the government and International Olympic Committee had reached an agreement to suspend the event for now. The games won’t be entirely canceled and will be held, at the very latest, by the summer of 2021.

The possibility of delaying the event was discussed by the Japanese Prime Minister and head of the IOC, Thomas Bach, over a phone call and a consensus was reached to delay the Tokyo Olympic Games to 2021.

“The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present,” the IOC said in a joint statement with Tokyo 2020 organizing committee.

Prime Minister Abe said that the decision was taken keeping in mind the interest of the general public as well as the athletes competing, “Considering the current situation, in regards to the Tokyo Games, as the host nation, in order to ensure that athletes from all over the world are able to compete in their best condition, and also in order to ensure the utmost safety for the spectators, I have asked him to consider postponing the games by about a year,” he said.

The latest cancellation follows the general trend of the world today as more and more countries impose strict lockdowns to restrict the spread of COVID-19. Although there have been similar threats to Olympic events in past, like the bird flu ahead of the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, Zika during the 2016 Rio Olympics and swine flu before the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, nothing of this magnitude has been encountered by humanity before.

The global count of the cases continues to accelerate, standing at 395,807 as of today, with about 18,000 casualties already.