Osaka cancels Olympic torch relay for pandemic

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ANKARA

A western Japanese prefecture canceled the Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch relay due to the increasing number of coronavirus cases, local media said on Wednesday.

According to Kyodo news agency, Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura announced in a news conference that he will not let Olympic torchbearers on public streets in the entire prefecture as Osaka has been fighting record numbers of COVID-19 cases.

On Tuesday, Yoshimura said on Twitter that 719 people tested positive for the virus in Osaka, which was the highest number ever in the prefecture.

The torch relay for the Tokyo 2020 started on March 25 in Japan’s northeastern prefecture of Fukushima.

The torch was scheduled to pass through Osaka on April 13 and 14.

The torch’s final destination will be the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on July 23, when the Tokyo 2020’s opening ceremony will be held.

The coronavirus pandemic forced the 2020 games to be postponed for a year. The multi-sport event is now scheduled to take place from July 23 to Aug. 8, without overseas spectators.

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