North Korea to Bow Out of Tokyo Olympics

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The isolated country is not yet ready to break quarantine.

When the pandemic first began to spread around the world last year, North Korea, already an extremely private, isolated country, almost completely severed its ties with the outside world in an effort to keep the virus away. This has worked out for them, at least allegedly; no major outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported from North Korea, nor is there any evidence of one having taken place, though world medical experts are skeptical about the country’s claims of no cases at all. True or not, however, North Korea wants to prevent COVID-19 from crossing its borders by any means necessary, up to and including skipping the Olympics.

According to a report from a sports outlet managed by the North Korean government, the country will not be sending its athletes to compete in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics due to fears of exposing them to COVID-19. This will make the third time North Korea has skipped the Olympics in the last few decades, though the previous two times, those being the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, were due to boycotts.

Meanwhile, the Tokyo Olympics, after much debate and rescheduling, are currently on track to be held from July 23 to August 8, with the Paralympics to follow from August 24 to September 5. The Olympic Torch Relay is already underway, having began on March 25, as Japanese athletes carry the Olympic torch across the country prior to the main event. However, even the Torch Relay has been beset by complications due to fears of a new wave of COVID infections. Osaka has opted to skip their leg of the relay to prevent any massive gatherings in the city.

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