Folks pose for photos with the 2020 Tokyo Olympic relay torch (L) and Paralympic relay torch (R) on the Olympic Museum in Tokyo on September 1, 2020. – The Olympic flame is at present on show at Tokyo’s Olympic Museum after the coronavirus pandemic compelled organisers to scrap the torch relay and put the Video games on maintain. (Photograph by Philip FONG / AFP)
Spectators can be barred from the beginning of the Tokyo Olympics torch relay, organizers mentioned Monday, asserting a pared-back launch because the countdown to the postponed Video games begins in earnest.
Followers had been advised to steer clear of subsequent week’s “simplified” beginning ceremony and first leg of the nationwide relay, which was placed on maintain a 12 months in the past when the Olympics had been delayed over the coronavirus.
“The grand begin ceremony and the primary part of the Fukushima torch relay… won’t be open to the general public,” organizers mentioned in an announcement, including that the festivities can be broadcast stay on-line.
The announcement comes forward of a choice on whether or not followers from abroad can be allowed to enter Japan for the postponed Video games, anticipated to be taken earlier than the torch relay begins on March 25.
Studies final week advised the Japanese authorities is about to ban followers from overseas over fears of an increase in infections.
The torch relay will start in Fukushima prefecture, which final week marked the tenth anniversary of the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear catastrophe that left 18,500 lifeless or lacking.
However the torch, headed for the Olympics opening ceremony on July 23, will get a extra muted send-off than initially deliberate.
“With the intention to permit all potential Covid-19 countermeasures to be taken, the variety of contributors touring from Tokyo to the location is being considerably curtailed,” Tokyo 2020 mentioned.
“As well as, this system has been simplified and the variety of performers on the ceremony has been diminished.”
About 3,000 spectators had been anticipated to attend the relay’s beginning ceremony, which is able to characteristic a kids’s choir and decorations created from flowers from disaster-affected areas.
Members of Japan’s ladies’s soccer group will mild the torch utilizing the Olympic flame — which has been saved in Japan because the Video games had been postponed in March 2020.
It should then set off across the nation earlier than arriving for the Video games’ opening ceremony in Tokyo, with spectators allowed to line the route so long as they obey strict virus countermeasures together with a ban on cheering.
Followers can be required to put on masks, keep away from crowding, and solely attend segments of the relay close to their dwelling.
Organizers have warned that “particular person relay segments can be suspended if there’s a threat of overcrowding”.
Each runners and employees should hold detailed well being information within the two weeks earlier than their participation, and keep away from dangerous actions — together with consuming out or going to crowded locations.
Tokyo 2020 organizers have burdened that public security can be a “prime precedence” on the Video games, and are set to take a choice on total attendance limits in April.
The organizing committee introduced Monday that two take a look at occasions scheduled for late April — for skateboarding and taking pictures — will now be held in Might.
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