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World World’s oldest person pulls out of torch relay for Tokyo Olympics

07:45  05 may  2021
07:45  05 may  2021 Source:   aljazeera.com

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The world’s oldest person, a 118-year-old Japanese woman, has decided not to take part in the torch relay for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics because of concerns about the coronavirus, an official at her nursing home said on Wednesday, casting more shadows over an event, which is already facing significant hurdles including a possible lockdown extension.

a person sitting at a table eating food: Kane Tanaka, 118, was slated to be one of the relay participants in Fukuoka in southern Japan, which will start on May 11 [File: Jiji Press via AFP] © Kane Tanaka, 118, was slated to be one of the relay participants in Fukuoka in southern Japan, which... Kane Tanaka, 118, was slated to be one of the relay participants in Fukuoka in southern Japan, which will start on May 11 [File: Jiji Press via AFP]

Kane Tanaka, who is named in the Guinness World Records, was slated to be one of the relay participants in Fukuoka in southern Japan, which will start on May 11, the official said.

Olympic torch relay pulled from Hiroshima streets in latest COVID-19 setback

  Olympic torch relay pulled from Hiroshima streets in latest COVID-19 setback The Olympic torch relay is being pulled off the streets in Hiroshima as coronavirus cases spike across the country, a large portion of which is still in a state of emergency, according to The Associated Press. “It is certain there will be no relay on public streets since we are all trying to reduce going out, and how to do the ceremony without the relay on the streets is still being discussed with the organizers,” Hiroshima Gov. Hidehiko Yuzaki said, via The Associated Press. The iconic torch relay kicked off on March 25 in northeastern Japan.

“We received an email from her family which said she wanted to withdraw from the relay as she and her family were concerned about spreading the virus at the nursing home,” they said.

The Olympic torch relay, which kicked off in March, has been undermined by the surge in coronavirus in Japan, which has led to restrictions being imposed in major cities including Tokyo and Osaka.

Six people who helped with the torch relay were diagnosed with COVID-19, the Tokyo 2020 organisers said on Sunday, bringing the total number of cases involved in the event to eight.

Some celebrities who were due to take part have withdrawn from the relay due to safety reasons.

The government is considering an extension to state of emergency of measures first announced last month, the Yomiuri Newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Oldest person pulls out of Olympic torch relay

  Oldest person pulls out of Olympic torch relay Kane Tanaka, 118, says she's worried about spreading Covid-19 to others in her nursing home. © Reuters Kane Tanaka reportedly said she didn't want to risk spreading the virus to others in her nursing home Kane Tanaka, 118, was supposed to take part in the relay for Tokyo 2020 in Fukuoka, southern Japan, on 11 May.The relay, which began in March, has been hit by a coronavirus outbreak, with eight cases linked to the event.Last month, amid a surge in cases, Japan declared a state of emergency in major cities including Tokyo and Osaka.

According to the report, officials were leaning towards an extension of the measures in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures beyond May 11.

Persistent doubts

Osaka reported 884 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, according to public broadcaster NHK, and hospital capacity for seriously ill patients has reportedly exceeded 99 percent.

With the continuing surge in cases, Osaka Governor Yoshimura Hirofumi cast doubt on Tuesday that a state of emergency in the western prefecture could be ended.

Daily cases also remain high in Tokyo with 609 infections reported on Tuesday. At least 65 of the patients are said to be in a serious condition.

Extending the measures, which were imposed on April 25, is likely to further fan doubts about whether the Games, scheduled to begin on July 23, can still go ahead as planned.

The games have already been delayed by a year as a result of the pandemic.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will meet senior government ministers on Wednesday to discuss an extension, the Yomiuri reported without citing sources.

It did not detail how long an extension might be, but the governor of Osaka Prefecture said an extension of three weeks to a month may be necessary, according to other domestic media.

Calls by Reuters news agency to Suga’s office were not answered. Japan’s government buildings and financial markets were closed on Wednesday for annual Golden Week holidays.

Under the state of emergency in Tokyo and other urban areas, the government has required restaurants, bars, and karaoke parlours serving alcohol to shut.

Large department stores and cinemas have also been closed and spectators banned from big sporting events.

Olympic chief's Japan visit postponed over virus as Games loom .
International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach has been forced to postpone a visit to Japan, organisers said Monday, after a coronavirus state of emergency was extended less than three months before the Tokyo Games. Bach's trip was scheduled for May 17-18 but organisers "decided to postpone it based on various situations including the (government's) extension of a virus state of emergency". It is just the latest coronavirus disruption for the postponed 2020 Games, which have seen several test events cancelled, postponed or moved.

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