North Korea said Monday it will not attend the Tokyo Olympics, which are slated to start July 23, because of Covid-19 concerns.
The decision was made by North Korea’s Olympic committee on March 25, according to an update posted on a government-run website called Joson Sports, Reuters reported.
The committee said it chose “not to join the 32nd Olympics Games to protect athletes from the global health crisis caused by the coronavirus.”
North Korea’s borders have been shut down since January last year as part of the country’s strict quarantine measures, and in November, Kim Jong Un reportedly ordered the execution of a customs official who broke Covid-19 rules while importing goods from China, South Korea’s spy agency said.
The Tokyo Olympics were originally scheduled for the summer of 2020, but the event was delayed for the first time in history because of the pandemic. The Olympics will now take place July 23 to August 8 without international spectators.
Before the pandemic, North and South Korea announced their intent to compete in the Tokyo Olympics as one unified team.