Coronavirus impacts Tokyo 2020; Olympic torch lighting ceremony to be held without spectators

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on March 10, 2020

Organisers say that this is the first time in 35 years that the ceremony will be held without an audience

For the first time in 35 years, the torch lighting ceremony for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in ancient Olympia will be held without any spectators. The organisers of the ceremony said that the decision came in light of the global coronavirus outbreak.

the Tokyo 2020 Olympics torch lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia will be held without any spectators in light of the global coronavirus outbreak, the organisers of the ceremony announced on Monday.

According to a Reuters report, Greece’s Olympic Committee said that spectators there would be no spectators for the dresses rehearsal at Olympia on Wednesday as well as the widely broadcast torch-lighting ceremony on Thursday.

The ceremony held for the summer and winter Olympic Games attracts several thousand spectators each time from Greece and abroad.

“The lighting ceremony of the Olympic flame will be done without the presence of spectators and only 100 invited and accredited guests,” the Greek Olympic Committee said in a statement.

Earlier this month, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) called off a Tokyo Olympic test event featuring Paralympic wheelchair rugby owing to the COVID-19 outbreak as per media reports.

The IOC also released an official statement detailing its efforts to curb the spread of the outbreak and the health and safety measures taken by the committee for the same.

“A joint task force had already been created in mid-February, involving the IOC, Tokyo 2020, the host city of Tokyo, the government of Japan and the World Health Organization (WHO). The IOC EB appreciates and supports the measures being taken, which constitute an important part of Tokyo’s plans to host safe and secure Games,” the IOC had said in an official statement.

The Olympic torch will be lit in Olympia on March 12 followed by a seven-day relay culminating with a handover ceremony in Greece on March 19.

Greece on Sunday also announced a two-week ban on spectators at sporting events along with school field trips the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country rose to 73.

So far, there have been over 110,000 of the virus with the death toll surpassing 3,800 across the globe according to WHO.

According to media reports, the Tokyo Olympics 2020 could potentially be postponed in light of the COVID-19 epidemic.

No official announcement has been made yet regarding the same.

Published on March 10, 2020

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