Matsuyama city cancels Tokyo Olympics torch relay

Matsuyama city becomes the second area to close the torch relay event due to the rising Covid-19 infection rate.

Olympic torch.
Tokihiro Nakamura, governor of Ehime prefecture, says they will cancel the torch relay in Matsuyama city and hold the celebration for the arrival of the flame in a way that will not involve ordinary spectators. Picture: PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

CAPE TOWN, April 15 (ANA) – The Tokyo Olympics faced another setback after the western Japanese city of Matsuyama cancelled its torch relay section due to a surge in Covid-19 cases on Wednesday.

According to China Global Television Network (CGTN), Matsuyama city becomes the second area to close the torch relay event due to the rising infection rate; however, Olympics organisers are optimistic that the Games will go on as planned.

On Wednesday, they unveiled two new statues of the Games’ mascots to celebrate the 100-day countdown to the Olympics.

“We will cancel the torch relay in Matsuyama city… we will hold the celebration for the arrival of the flame in a way that will not involve ordinary spectators,” said Tokihiro Nakamura, governor of Ehime prefecture.

“Emergency medical services in the region are under extreme pressure as Covid-19 cases rise,” he said.

According to Channel NewsAsia, a Singapore-based broadcaster, thousands of foreign fans were expected to make their way to Japan, but foreign spectators have since been banned, with authorities now deciding whether or not it will be safe for locals to attend.

With less than 1% of its population vaccinated, Japanese authorities said they will be updating their “playbook” to outline the antivirus measures for the Games.

“We will overcome the fight against the coronavirus to hold the 2020 Games,” Yuriko Koike, the governor of Tokyo, said during a press conference.

“We will do it together with you all… and I would like to continue moving forward to achieve it,” she said.

Meanwhile, the head of the Tokyo Medical Association, Haruo Ozaki, expressed his concern on social media on Tuesday, prompting organisers for a more detailed plan, with the Games set to open on July 23.

He added that from a position as a medical worker and with a resurgence in cases from countries such as Brazil and India, hosting the games would be a “difficult situation“.

– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Yaron Blecher

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