Governor calls for Osaka prefecture Olympic torch relay cancellation
Tokyo, Apr 7 (efe-epa).- The governor of Japan’s Osaka prefecture, who had asked last week for the Olympic torch relay to be canceled in Osaka city, requested Wednesday that the measure be extended to the entire region amid a record number of Covid-19 infections.
Hirofumi Yoshimura told journalists that the prefecture is set to record more than 850 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, following several days of record infections, and said that he would not to allow the torch relay to pass through public roads.
Yoshimura added that he had already conveyed the request to the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, which has yet to issue a final decision on the cancellation of the relay in Osaka city, and hoped that the committee would make an announcement on the matter as soon as possible to facilitate coordination.
The torch relay started on Mar. 25 in the northeastern Fukushima prefecture and is scheduled to pass through the Osaka prefecture between Apr. 13-14.
The call for the cancellation of the torch runs scheduled to take place on public roads across Osaka is part of the prefecture’s anti-Covid-19 measures, Yoshimura said, adding that it as inappropriate to hold the relay on public roads while asking people not to step out of their homes.
Although Yoshimura expressed his intention not to let the Olympic flame be carried on public roads, he said that he would be studying the possibility of a closed route for the relay.
Yoshimura’s request comes on the same day that Osaka declared a state of emergency amid a fourth wave of the coronavirus that is putting a strain on the prefecture’s medical system.
The occupancy rate of beds for seriously ill patients in the prefecture is around 70 percent and the number of patients with severe symptoms is expected to continue increasing.
For several days, Covid-19 cases in Osaka have been outpacing those in Tokyo, which had the highest incidence of the disease in the country.
The number of infections in the Japanese capital are also continuing to rise. A total of 555 new infections were reported on Wednesday, the city’s highest daily figure in two months. EFE-EPA