Spectators will probably be barred from the beginning of the Tokyo Olympics torch relay, organizers stated Monday, saying a pared-back launch because the countdown to the postponed Video games begins in earnest.
Followers have been instructed to keep away from subsequent week’s “simplified” beginning ceremony and first leg of the nationwide relay, which was placed on maintain a yr in the past when the Olympics have 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 stated in a press release, including that the festivities could be broadcast dwell on-line.
The announcement comes forward of a choice on whether or not followers from abroad will probably 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 urged the Japanese authorities is ready 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 useless or lacking.
However the torch, headed for the Olympics opening ceremony on July 23, will get a extra muted send-off than initially deliberate.
“To be able to enable all potential Covid-19 countermeasures to be taken, the variety of contributors touring from Tokyo to the positioning is being considerably curtailed,” Tokyo 2020 stated.
“As well as, this system has been simplified and the variety of performers on the ceremony has been lowered.”
About 3,000 spectators had been anticipated to attend the relay’s beginning ceremony, which can function a kids’s choir and decorations comprised of flowers from disaster-affected areas.
Members of Japan’s girls’s soccer group will mild the torch utilizing the Olympic flame — which has been stored in Japan for the reason that Video games have been postponed in March 2020.
It is going to 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 will probably be required to put on masks, keep away from crowding, and solely attend segments of the relay close to their house.
Organizers have warned that “particular person relay segments will probably be suspended if there’s a threat of overcrowding”.
Each runners and workers should maintain 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 pressured that public security will probably be a “high 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 Could.
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