The International Olympic Committee(IOC) is considering a postponement of Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and has given themselves a deadline of four weeks to make the decision.

“In light of the worldwide deteriorating situation… the executive board has today initiated the next step in the IOC’s scenario-planning,” they said in a statement.

According to BBC, the postponement could be by either several months or probably a whole year, which is most likely outcome. The development marks a significant shift by the IOC, which as recently as five days ago said it was “fully committed” to the Tokyo 2020 Games.

British Olympic Association (BOA) chairman Sir Hugh Robertson said: “We welcome the IOC executive board decision to review the options in respect of a postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. However, we urge rapid decision-making for the sake of athletes who still face significant uncertainty. Restrictions now in place have removed the ability of athletes to compete on a level playing field and it simply does not seem appropriate to continue on the present course towards the Olympic Games in the current environment.”

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “It is right that the IOC seriously considers postponing the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The health and safety of athletes, sports fans and officials due to work at the Games is absolutely paramount. We would welcome the IOC making a definitive decision soon, to bring clarity to all those involved.”