Olympic Torch Lighting Ceremony To Be Held Without Crowd Amid Coronavirus Fears

Greece’s Olympic Committee introduced Monday that no spectators might be allowed on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics torch lighting ceremony in historic Olympia on Thursday because of the coronavirus outbreak.

“The Olympic Flame Contact Ceremony might be held with out the presence of spectators and might be attended by solely 100 visitors with accreditation from the Worldwide Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee,” the Greek committee mentioned in an announcement.

The group got here to the conclusion after “bearing in mind the newest selections of the Greek Authorities on the safety of public well being because of the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” the identify for this pressure of the coronavirus, which has affected greater than 100,000 folks and killed greater than 3,800 worldwide because it continues spreading.  

Alkis Konstantinidis / Reuters

The 2018 lighting ceremony in Olympia for the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics.

This would be the first time that the lighting, which takes place on the historic stadium within the city the place the video games originated, has excluded spectators since 1984, The Washington Submit reported. That’s the yr Greek Olympic officers protested the choice by organizers of the Video games in Los Angeles to promote participation within the torch relay, in keeping with the Hellenic Olympic Committee web site. The ceremony sometimes attracts 1000’s of tourists from world wide. 

The gown rehearsal on Wednesday may also be closed to spectators, the committee mentioned.

There additionally has been discuss of suspending the 2020 Olympics amid the coronavirus. Japan’s Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto mentioned final week that the contract to carry the Tokyo Video games solely specifies the occasion is to be held throughout 2020, not that it should start on July 24 as deliberate. As of Sunday, Japan has confirmed 455 instances of COVID-19 and 6 deaths.

The torch lighting is amongst a rising variety of public gatherings to be altered or canceled as well being officers discourage weak populations from gathering in giant crowds. The BNP Paribas Open, a significant tennis event in Indian Wells, California, was canceled Monday, as was the South by Southwest media and humanities pageant in Austin, Texas, on Friday. 

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