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Tokyo 2020 organizing committee announces guidelines for torch relay

All networks reported at noon that the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics organizing committee released today a set of guidelines on coronavirus measures for the Olympic torch relay that will begin in Fukushima Prefecture on March 25. According to the networks, the committee encourages people to refrain from going to other prefectures to watch the relay in person and to watch live online broadcasts to prevent overcrowding on the roadside. According to the networks, those watching in person will be asked to wear masks, keep their distance from other spectators, and refrain from loud cheering. In addition, the guidelines say the relay may be temporarily suspended if large crowds form along the route. The networks said the torchbearers will be asked to refrain from dining out or visiting crowded areas from two weeks prior to the event. The committee also reportedly said the nationwide relay in the first four prefectures—Fukushima, Tochigi, Gunma, and Nagano—will be held as planned, and the decision on whether to hold the relay in other prefectures will be made about one month prior to the event after assessing the local COVID-19 infection situation. NHK said that while the governor of Shimane Prefecture has mentioned canceling the torch relay, Tokyo Olympics organizing committee head Hashimoto reportedly said: “It is very important to prioritize safety and take every possible measure against the infectious disease. I hope that the torch relay will bring hope to every part of Japan.”

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