Tokyo Olympics organizers report first torch relay virus case
This file photo taken on March 25, 2021 shows Japanese torchbearer Azusa Iwashimizu (centre R), a member of Japan women's national football team, carrying the Olympic flame as a guard (L) holds a sign for COVID-19 precautions on day one of the torch relay outside J-Village National Training Centre in Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture.
Philip Fong/Pool/AFP

Tokyo Olympics organizers report first torch relay virus case

(Agence France-Presse) - April 22, 2021 - 12:03pm

TOKYO – Tokyo Olympics organizers reported the first infection from the nationwide torch relay on Thursday, as the pandemic continues to play havoc with the massive event.

Organizers said an unnamed man in his 30s who had taken part in the relay in the western island of Shikoku had tested positive for the virus, without specifying his exact role.

They pledged to work with medical authorities to "take the precautions needed to put on a safe and secure torch relay".

It was the first reported case related to the relay, which has been forced off public roads in some areas over fears it will spread the virus.

The historic city of Kyoto is the latest to express doubts, with local media reporting that the city's government will ask to hold the event away from public roads.

The Asahi daily reported that Kyoto may suggest holding the relay inside the city's Nijo Castle -- a UNESCO world heritage site.

The torch was carried around a closed course at a park in nearby Osaka last week, with the general public kept away.

Okinawa in southern Japan and Matsuyama city in the west of the country have also scrapped the public torch relay over rising Covid-19 cases.

Organizers insist the relay, which involves around 10,000 runners passing through all 47 prefectures, can be held safely under strict antivirus guidelines.

They have warned that parts of the relay could be suspended if too many spectators gather in one place.

The relay got underway on March 25, with spectators barred from the departure ceremony and first leg.

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