Moscow, Jul 7 (UNI/SPUTNIK) The organizing committee of the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo announced on Wednesday its decision to take the torch relay off public roads and hold it at special celebration venues instead.
Media reported on Monday that the Tokyo metropolitan government was considering taking the entire 15-day Olympic torch relay off pubic roads due to the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases. The authorities came up with the idea after deciding last week to hold the first eight days of the relay up to July 18 without spectators and away from public roads, except on small islands.
“The Tokyo Metropolitan task force requested Tokyo 2020 not to stage the Olympic Torch Relay on public roads and to hold Celebration events. As such, Tokyo 2020 will implement an alternative lighting ceremony format whereby each torchbearer will pass the Olympic flame to the next torchbearer at a ‘torch kiss’ point at the Celebration venues,” the press release read.
The Tokyo leg of the relay will start on Friday after the flame passes through 46 of Japan’s prefectures.
The Summer Olympics in Tokyo, initially scheduled for 2020, were postponed for a year due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. The Games are now set to run from July 23-August 8 with harsh restrictions put in place to ensure safety.