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Paralympic flame ceremonies start as COVID-19 surges in Japan

Tokyo: Japan held its first Paralympic flame-lighting ceremonies on Thursday (Aug 12), with athletes ready to be taught whether or not spectators might be within the stands because the nation battles a spike in COVID-19 circumstances.

Followers have been banned from nearly all venues on the pandemic-postponed Tokyo Olympics, which ended Sunday, whereas athletes confronted restrictions on motion and have been examined every day.

The Paralympics are anticipated to happen underneath comparable circumstances once they start on Aug 24, Japanese media mentioned, with an official choice on spectators anticipated early subsequent week.

Though Japan has seen a relatively small COVID-19 outbreak general, with about 15,300 deaths, the most recent wave pushed by the extra infectious Delta variant is pushing every day case numbers to new information.

Tokyo and 5 different areas are presently underneath a virus state of emergency, which bans bars and eating places from serving alcohol and asks them to shut by 8pm.

As a substitute of a standard relay on public roads, “torch-kiss” Paralympic flame-lighting occasions might be held in cities and cities throughout Japan over the subsequent week, with the flame transferred from torch to torch.

The flames might be dropped at Tokyo and mixed, however plans to have spectators line the route of a relay within the capital have been scrapped, a metropolis authorities official informed AFP.

“We had deliberate to carry the Paralympic torch relay in Tokyo with some 700 torchbearers,” mentioned Tokyo Metropolitan Authorities official Koichi Osakabe.

“However due to the state of emergency, we determined to not do the relay on public roads.”

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