TOKYO (AP) – The torch relay for the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday was held mainly in an empty Osaka city park, showing the risks of trying delayed games during an epidemic.
The same day, it was reported that new cases of the coronavirus had reached 1,000 in the second largest metropolitan area of Aponia for the first time.
The hailstorm began three weeks ago in northeastern Japan, trying to turn around the epidemic, with a total of 10,000 runners crossing the country attending the opening ceremony on July 23 in Tokyo.
Osaka, who announced last week that the relay would be removed from the city streets and banned from the public, became the first detour since the start of the relay. Organizers have warned in advance that there may be more.
The retaliatory step in Osaka on Wednesday, the day the Tokyo countdown clock arrives 100 days in advance, will be in the same park with the same closed doors.
New cases of COVID-19 are on the rise throughout Japan, where less than 1% of the population has been vaccinated due to a very slow flow.
Japan’s aponia has been attributed to COVID-19 with about 9,500 deaths, which is much less than in many countries but higher than most in Asia.
Ossetia, Tokyo and other parts of Japan have declared “quasi-emergency” conditions until early May, while bars and restaurants must be closed by 8pm
Many runners took a bus to Osaka Expo ’70 Memorial Park, ran short legs, carrying a torch next to metal barriers or in an empty park area.
They were accompanied by security guards who ran or walked beside them, “accompanied by an escort” or an “advertising” car decorated with the logos of the biggest sponsors, Coca-Cola and Toyota.
After a delay a year ago, the organizers were talking about removing the relay to save money. The idea has never been attractive, mainly because it is supported by the IOC’s largest sponsors.
Top sponsors paid the International Olympic Committee $ 1 billion in the last Olympic cycle (2013-2016). That number could double when the next round ends with the postponed Tokyo Games.
A poll conducted by the Kyodo Saturday news agency on Saturday showed that 13.2% want the relay to continue until the opening ceremony. About 85% said it should be stopped or eliminated altogether in virus-prone areas.
Opposition to the epidemic is also strong in Japan, with 80% saying the games should be canceled or postponed.
It is expected that 15,400 athletes – tens of thousands of officials, judges, media outlets – will take part in the Olympic-Paralympic Games. Fans from abroad have been banned.
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