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Olympic torch relay barred from public roads throughout Japan’s Osaka


FILE PHOTO: The Olympic torch is seen at Hibarigahara Competition Web site, over the last leg of the primary day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch relay, in Minamisoma, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, March 25, 2021. REUTERS/Issei Kato

The Olympic torch relay shall be barred from public roads throughout Japan’s Osaka area as virus instances there spike, prompting officers to declare a medical emergency, the governor stated Wednesday.

A choice to maintain the flame away from public view had already been taken for Osaka metropolis, however Wednesday’s announcement extends the measure to your complete prefecture.

“Right this moment, we determined to ask residents throughout your complete Osaka area to chorus from making non-essential and non-urgent outings, so we are going to cancel the torch relay on public roads within the prefecture,” regional governor Hirofumi Yoshimura instructed reporters.

He stated officers had been discussing whether or not the torch might be carried on a closed route inside a park as a substitute.

The Olympic flame started its nationwide relay on March 25 in Fukushima and is because of move by way of the Osaka area on April 13 and 14.

The relay launch ceremony was held with out spectators due to virus considerations, and guidelines already require followers lining the path to put on masks and keep away from cheering.

Yoshimura stated it could be “inappropriate” to carry it within the Osaka area on public roads as giant numbers of onlookers may collect.

“The torch relay tends to draw crowds as a result of folks need to see it, even when we take measures,” he stated.

The choice got here because the Osaka area declared a medical emergency, with rising infections placing native well being services underneath growing pressure.

It’s anticipated to report a file variety of infections later Wednesday after setting a number of new highs in current weeks.

Native residents are being requested to keep away from non-essential outings, and Osaka metropolis is already underneath particular anti-virus measures together with asking companies to shut early.

Yoshimura had advised final week that Osaka metropolis’s relay leg is likely to be canceled, earlier than a compromise was reached to maintain the flame off public roads.

With a little bit over 100 days till the virus-postponed Video games are attributable to open on July 23, Olympic officers are battling the issues brought on by a brand new surge in instances.

On Tuesday, Tokyo 2020 confirmed a water polo check occasion can be postponed as a result of virus restrictions imply officers from overseas can not enter the nation.

And three qualifiers organized in Japan by the worldwide swimming federation FINA are unsure due to virus restrictions, with bulletins on whether or not they are going to be moved due this week.

There was no rapid remark from Tokyo 2020 organizers, who’ve beforehand stated legs of the torch relay might be canceled if overcrowding happens.

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