Moscow: Japan's Osaka prefecture announced tougher coronavirus restrictions on Monday, casting doubt on the Olympic torch relay that is due to pass through the region in mid-April, media reported.
The NHK said it was unlikely that torch bearers will run on Osaka’s public roads. The Tokyo Organizing Committee warned in February that whole sections of the relay might be scrapped if coronavirus measures were tightened at the locations through which the flame passed.
Eateries have been asked to close early to limit the spread of the virus after Osaka reported 341 new cases on Monday, the highest daily tally since the start of the outbreak. Same measures were announced in the Hyogo and Miyagi prefectures. They will last until May 5 and are aimed at averting a stricter state of emergency.
The Olympic torch relay began in the Fukushima Prefecture in northeastern Japan on 25th March.The event was postponed from 2020 due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The organizing committee is broadcasting the ceremony on YouTube, the presence of journalists is limited due to the pandemic, Sputnik reported
Following precautions to check the spread of the Corona virus the opening ceremony was held without spectators, being attended by a limited number of people.The global pandemic had led to the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, as both the events were originally scheduled to be held in 2020.
The torch relay would consist of approximately 10,000 torchbearers running through 859 municipalities in Japan's 47 prefectures, during a 121-day journey.The torch relay is an oppertunity to build confidence among people regarding Japan's ability to safely stage the games in the midst of the global pandemic.
Following precautions to keep the pandemic in check, the Olympic organising committee is encouraging people to follow the torch relay online and has warned that the relay might be suspended, or some routes of the program may be skipped, if too many people gather on roadsides.
Spectators would be required to wear face masks and have been urged to clap rather than cheer.The Olympic flame arrived in Japan from Greece in 2020, it was exhibited around the country, including at the Japan Olympic Museum in Tokyo where it recieved thousands of visitors who came to view it.
As part of the organiser's commitment to environmental sustainability the Olympic torches will burn hydrogen, which emits no carbon dioxide.The relay began in Fukushima under the theme 'Hope Lights Our Way' to highlight the sucsess Japan has achieved in reconstructing the region that was ravaged by by earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in March 2011.
The torch, which weighs 1.2-kgs is partially crafted from recycled aluminum used for building prefabricated housing units in the Fukushima region following the massive quake.