Hyogo, Okayama, Hiroshima Cancel Olympic Torch Relay on Public Roads
Kobe/Okayama/Hiroshima, May 10 (Jiji Press)--Hyogo, Okayama and Hiroshima prefectures in western Japan announced Monday the cancellations of their legs of the Tokyo Olympics torch relay on local public roads due to the continuing spread of the novel coronavirus.
The Olympic flame was slated to travel Hiroshima on May 17-18, Okayama on May 19-20 and Hyogo on May 23-24.
"It is very unfortunate, but we concluded that conducting the relay on public roads in our prefecture would be impossible," Okayama Governor Ryuta Ibaragi told reporters.
Most of the mayors of the 12 Okayama municipalities the Olympic flame was slated to pass through agreed with the prefectural government's decision on the cancellation. "It is regrettable that we effectively won't be able to host the torch relay, but the decision was unavoidable in view of the current (coronavirus) situation," Ibaragi said.
Okayama reported 189 new cases of novel coronavirus infection on Saturday, marking its highest daily tally. The occupancy rate for hospital beds for coronavirus patients in the prefecture stood at 71.6 pct as of Sunday, exceeding the level for Stage 4, the worst on the country's four-tier coronavirus alert system.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]