Coronavirus FAQ: What does this mean for the 2020 Summer Olympics?

Although there is no definitive Plan B as of now, Olympic officials are worried about the about the outbreak of the coronavirus. Matt Roberts/Getty Images

Editor's note: This story is begin updated daily with the latest news on the Olympics and other global sporting events that are postponed or canceled because of the coronavirus.

As the highly transmissible coronavirus continued to cause health and safety concerns in China and around the world, Tokyo Olympics chief executive officer Toshiro Mori said Thursday that the 2020 Games will go on as scheduled.

This comes a week after he acknowledged he was "seriously worried" the virus would impact both the Olympics and Paralympics, which are scheduled to open July 24 and Aug. 25, respectively.

Craig Spence, spokesman for the International Paralympic Committee, said, "One thing I am noticing at the moment is fear is spreading quicker than the virus, and it is important that we quell that fear."

However, the daunting, rapidly escalating numbers are making that more and more difficult.

Thursday brought news that the coronavirus claimed 254 more lives in China -- by far the highest daily total yet -- and confirmed cases worldwide have risen beyond 60,000, with 1,369 deaths. And there are growing concerns the lethal virus is moving closer to Japan. The country's health minister, Katsunobu Kato, confirmed that a woman in her 80s, who had been treated in a Tokyo hospital, died Thursday -- the first confirmed death in Japan.

There are now 247 confirmed cases of the virus in Japan, 218 of them in a cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama harbor. Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe unveiled a 15.3 billion offensive to contain the virus.

In addition to China, the virus has been identified in 23 other countries. There are 12 confirmed cases in the United States, none of them as yet fatal.

On Jan. 30, the World Health Organization declared an international public health emergency.

While there is no indications the Games will alter its plans, there is another, less obvious impact of the outbreak of the coronavirus -- on the travel sector. China, which had an ambitious plan for bringing in visitors in 2020, has already experienced cancellations related to preliminary events.

While the IOC and the Olympic federations for individual countries -- and the individual sports they govern -- have scrambled to deal with a host of logistics involving training and qualifying events, Japan's Olympic agencies are not publicly discussing a Plan B.

There is a precedent to consider: In 2003, the lethal outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome in China forced Women's World Cup organizers to make alternative arrangements. Ultimately, it was decided to move the fourth women's World Cup from four Chinese cities to the United States. If the coronavirus should make the dangerous transition from epidemic to pandemic, Olympic officials will have to discuss contingencies in earnest.

What does this mean for the sports landscape in Asia this year? Here are some of the pressing questions:

Could the virus still be viable when competitions are scheduled to begin in Tokyo on July 22, two days before the opening ceremonies?

The short answer, 166 days before the Opening Ceremonies, is that no one following this evolving situation really knows what awaits the 11,000 Olympic athletes from 206 countries.

The epicenter is Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, approximately 1,500 miles west of Tokyo. So far, 45 cases of the virus have been identified in Japan, but no deaths.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, coronaviruses -- a large family of viruses that can cause respiratory illnesses, including the common cold -- typically exhibit symptoms that are mild to moderate. 2019-nCoV, however, can cause severe respiratory illness, fever, cough and difficulty breathing.

The majority of cases outside Wuhan, passed person to person, can be traced to travel from that city of 11 million. Chinese officials have attempted to contain the outbreak with quarantines of an area with a population of approximately 50 million and by restricting travel -- and, remarkably, with makeshift hospitals that have been constructed in a matter of days.

The incubation period is 14 days, which means the virus can be present for nearly a month -- making it extremely difficult to predict short- or long-term outcomes. The CDC estimates it might require one to three months before the potential scope of this epidemic is fully understood.

In 2003, the outbreaks of SARS, which were centered in Hong Kong, caused 349 deaths in mainland China. Beginning in 2012, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) claimed more than 800 lives. While SARS and MERS are from the same family of coronaviruses, 2019-nCoV seems to have the sustainability to be more dire than both.

Last Thursday, a significant coronavirus outbreak (including one death) was identified in Hong Kong -- some 573 miles south of Wuhan -- leading to fears that the virus is capable of traveling significant distances.

Johns Hopkins senior scholar Dr. Amesh Adalja told CNBC that he expects the outbreak to turn into a mild pandemic and spread further in the United States. Health officials could declare a "pandemic" if the virus were to start to affect a larger number of people across the world.

"It's important that we get a handle on what the severity is and who has the risk factors, so that we can protect those individuals," Adalja said. "Many people are going to get mild illness and it's going to be more like a flu-like illness for many people, but for some, it may be very severe."

What events in Asia have been canceled or moved?

Olympic qualifying events in soccer, boxing, basketball and badminton that were scheduled in China in February already have been moved to Australia and Serbia.

China's women's soccer team was placed in quarantine upon arriving in Brisbane. None tested positive for the virus, according to the Chinese Football Association.

The Asian Olympic Wrestling Qualifying event, scheduled for March 27-29 in Xi'an, will be rescheduled for later this year. Wuhan was to be the site for Olympic boxing qualifiers in early February, but they have been moved to March and will now take place in Jordan.

The women's basketball qualifying tournament, scheduled for Foshan in southern China, is now set for Belgrade.

The international ski federation (FIS) and the Chinese Ski Association jointly decided to cancel a two-race weekend at the mountain venue where the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics will be held. A men's downhill had been scheduled for Feb. 15 in Yanqing.

Jose Ramirez saw his mandatory defense of the junior welterweight world title against Viktor Postol, scheduled for Feb. 1 in Haikou, China, postponed. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who has promoted boxing events for more than 50 years, said, "First time I remember canceling a fight for a reason like this."

Formula One management postponed the April 19 Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai. A makeup date has yet to me determined. Meanwhile the Vietnam GP, which is also scheduled for April, has no plans to postpone the race.

This comes after the Shanghai Sports General Association called for sports authorities to suspend events in the city until the coronavirus is contained. F1 and Shanghai officials met last Wednesday.

On Thursday, World Rugby announced the Hong Kong and Singapore Sevens will be postponed until October.

Meanwhile, the LPGA has canceled three events, including the Blue Bay tournament due to be held on Hainan island from March 5-8. On Monday, the league canceled upcoming events in Thailand and Singapore, which according to the LPGA, has "no plans to reschedule the events later" in '20."

"Given the current health concerns and significant travel restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus in China, the LPGA along with our partners in China have made the decision to cancel the 2020 Blue Bay LPGA," the Tour said in a statement.

In addition, the World Indoor Athletics Championships in Nanjing have been postponed by a year to March 2021.

In a statement, World Athletics said it had agreed to delay the event to provide "our athletes, member federations and partners with a clear way forward in what is a complex and fast-moving set of circumstances." It admitted that it had no other option given that the spread of the virus both within China and outside was "still at a concerning level."

On Wednesday, it was announced the Singapore swim championships will be moved to June.

What other events are in danger?

Formula E's race in Sanya, scheduled for March 21, already has been postponed.

"We're waiting for the Chinese promoter and authorities to make the final decision, which I think they will," said Ross Brawn, F1's motorsport director. "It is a tragic and very difficult situation. I think it'll become clear in the next week or two what's going to happen."

Man United's preseason plans are also on hold because of the virus. From a report filed Monday morning to ESPN FC, "United has discussed the possibility of returning to Asia this summer, but talks have stalled while the club seeks advice about the virus. ... Nothing has yet been finalized but there have also been talks about playing friendlies in other parts of Asia and India in July before the start of the Premier League season on Aug. 8."

The Chinese Super League, the country's domestic soccer league, has postponed the start of its season, originally scheduled for Feb. 22. And the Chinese Basketball Association has postponed games indefinitely.

The PGA Tour China has had similar discussions about the first two events in the 2020 calendar, in the cities of Sanya and Haikou, both in the province of Hainan, scheduled in late March.

How has the virus disrupted travel and training?

With the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) insisting that non-U.S. citizens who have been in China within 14 days of their planned travel will not be permitted to fly to the United States, international athletes have been scrambling.

UFC strawweight champ Zhang Weili, scheduled to defend her title at UFC 248 on March 7 in Las Vegas, left China earlier this week and landed in Thailand. According to her manager, Brian Butler, she and two other Chinese UFC fighters -- Li Jingliang and Xiaonan Yan -- spent two weeks there in quarantine before traveling to compete in events in the U.S. and Auckland, New Zealand.

Weili, who trains in Beijing, originally planned to finish all of her training in China, but she is now planning to relocate to Las Vegas when her 14 days are up.

The first Chinese UFC champion, Weili defends against former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, who reposted a meme on her Instagram page with an altered image of herself wearing a mask. Later, Jedrzejczyk deleted the post and said she hadn't meant to offend anyone.

From February to March, Chinese athletes were scheduled to participate in more than 100 Olympic qualifying events in foreign countries. Some 413 athletes from China participated in the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro, and more are expected to compete in Tokyo. Chinese sports authorities say that training goals remain on target, but the state-run media has announced training disruptions and cancellations in soccer, tennis, hockey, basketball, wrestling, diving, equestrian, biathlon, golf and badminton.

All of this is at a most crucial time in the lives of the Olympic athletes.

China's rugby team was due to return from a scheduled winter training camp in New Zealand on Jan. 27, but it is still at its hotel in Tauranga. Plans now call for the squad to stay in New Zealand for at least another month, before traveling to South Africa -- if it is permitted -- for another qualifying event. The country's badminton team was able to return from a qualifying event in Bangkok but was placed in a two-week quarantine upon arrival in China.

China's Olympic archery team has been sent to train in isolation at an academy in Sichuan, while the rifle team began a training camp in Beijing on Jan. 27. A sports psychologist was brought in to work with the archery team and help it deal with the crisis.

"The epidemic has indeed presented severe challenges as we prepare for Tokyo," Liu Guoyong, the head official in charge of competitions from the General Administration of Sport, said last week. "But as of now, preparations for all teams are going smoothly and no suspected case has occurred."

Liu, who also handles disease response responsibilities, said officials are doing everything they can to minimize the impact of this deadly epidemic, including having athletes train in safe, isolated settings in major facilities throughout Beijing.

"This is also a test to examine our athletic teams' ability to compete in complex and adverse situations," Liu said.

What's the outlook from the U.S. perspective?

While the sense of chaos the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee is experiencing isn't nearly as great as that of the Tokyo Olympic Committee, there are a lot of moving parts and gray areas to navigate.

The two main concerns are (1) U.S. athletes, coaches and staff traveling abroad and (2) Asian athletes coming to the United States for competitions.

Already a number of U.S. athletes have had to adjust training schedules and cancel plans for qualifying or preliminary competitions in China. The USOPC is attempting to monitor the ongoing situation.

With two world championship events ongoing and upcoming in the United States, the USOPC is working with the Department of Homeland Security to process athletes from Asia.

The 2020 FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup at Deer Valley Resort in Utah from Feb. 6-8, featuring moguls and aerial competition, has a number of athletes from China and Japan. The ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships in Kearns, Utah, from Feb. 13-16 lists entrants from China and South Korea.

Colton Brown, 28, will compete for USA Judo at 90 kilograms in Tokyo. While he said he believes the coronavirus is a "very serious matter," he also said he doesn't think it will have a major impact on the Olympic Games this summer.

Brown cited his experience in the run-up to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, when the Zika virus -- originating with mosquitoes -- afflicted Brazil and eventually was discovered in 85 other countries.

"I remember being told I should take extreme caution -- some people warned me against even traveling to Brazil for the Olympics -- but everything turned out to be fine," Brown wrote in an email after stepping off a plane in Paris for a qualifying tournament.

"I feel terrible for the Chinese athletes who currently aren't able to travel to some of the Olympic qualifying events," Brown continued. "But I seriously think that we are at a point with international medicine that this won't last too long and everything will be resolved before the Olympics."

What are the Tokyo authorities saying?

Earlier this week, the governor of Tokyo sounded acutely aware of the health crisis 1,500 miles to the west.

"We must firmly tackle the new coronavirus to contain it," Yuriko Koike said in a public gathering, "or we are going to regret it. I will do the utmost to contain this new problem as we cooperate closely with all of you."

She asked residents to wash their hands and wear surgical masks to help contain the coronavirus. Japan has upgraded the virus to a "designated infectious disease," permitting compulsory hospitalization and the use of public funds for treatment. And Tokyo Olympics officials have established a task force to focus on the virus and its possible permutations.

The Olympic committee Tokyo 2020 echoed her sentiments, saying in a statement, "Countermeasures against infectious diseases constitute an important part of our plans to host a safe and secure games."