The Tokyo Olympics, which were due to begin in four months time, have been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, the International Olympic Committee has announced.

The Olympics will now take place ‘no later than summer 2021’.

In a statement on Tokyo 2020’s website, organisers said that the accelerating nature of the coronavirus pandemic meant it was not possible to hold the event and that the Games “must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community”.

A final date for the Games has yet to be announced.

The Olympic flame, which has already been lit, will remain in Japan and the Games will keep its branding as ‘Tokyo 2020’, despite being moved to next year.

The historic move is the only time in the event’s 124 year history that a Games has been postponed.

Three Olympiads have been cancelled in the past; one of which was scheduled to take place in Tokyo in 1940 but was cancelled due to the outbreak of the Second World War.