Covid-19 | Olympic torch relay pulled off Hiroshima streets
This is at least the sixth change to the relay — from rerouting to cancellation — in the last several weeks.
The Tokyo Olympic torch relay is being pulled off the streets in Hiroshima prefecture as COVID-19 cases rise in Japan barely 10 weeks before the opening ceremony.
Hiroshima Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki said that a ceremony next week without the relay is likely to still take place. This is at least the sixth change to the relay — from rerouting to cancellation — in the last several weeks.
Organisers warned before the relay began that changes and delays were expected in the face of the pandemic.
“It is certain there will be no relay on public streets since we are all trying to reduce going out, and how to do the ceremony without the relay on the streets is still being discussed with the organisers,” Yuzaki said on Monday.
The relay began on March 25 in northeastern Japan and is to end on July 23 at the opening ceremony of the Olympics.
The relay is heavily sponsored by Toyota and Coca-Cola and has proceeded despite some calls a year ago to cancel it to save money.
It involves 10,000 runners crisscrossing Japan with organisers trying to keep crowds off the streets and urging them to maintain social distancing.
On Monday, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported that Hyogo and Okayama prefectures will also take the torch relay off public streets.
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