The Olympic torch lighting ceremony will be closed to the public, organizers announced today. The traditional lighting of the flame in Greece will instead only be witnessed by 100 accredited guests invited by the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 Games Organizing Committee. This is yet another response to the global Coronavirus health crisis gripping the entire world. After burning for eight days, the Olympic flame will travel by air for 121 days around the world until it reaches Japan.
"We urge the mayors of the cities through which the Olympic Flame will pass or stay overnight to follow the instructions of the Ministry of Health and the National Public Health Organization," Greece's Olympic committee said Monday. "The Hellenic Olympic Committee will continue to monitor the situation and, depending on developments, will make decisions, always with a view to protecting public health."
The summer games this year are under threat of cancellation because of the Coronavirus. A decision will come before late May. If canceled, it would be the first time an Olympic Games has been canceled not in a year of wartime. COVID-19 illnesses have surpassed 100,000 worldwide since beginning in China at the end of 2019, killing 3,500 people globally so far. As of Sunday, there were 455 confirmed cases and six deaths in Japan, according to the World Health Organization.
First seen on Deadline