Japan: 1st Olympic torch relay virus case reported

Country mulling to impose state of emergency in 4 prefectures.

Japan: 1st Olympic torch relay virus case reported

Tokyo Olympics organizers have confirmed the first COVID-19 case from the nationwide Olympic torch relay, local media reported on Thursday.

The coronavirus patient is a police officer who engaged in traffic control duties in the western Kagawa prefecture last Saturday, according to the Kyodo news agency.

The organizers said the officer, who is in his 30s, took a test on Sunday after feeling unwell, adding they believe no one came in close contact with him.

Japan is preparing to host the delayed Olympic Games that will begin on July 23. No international spectators will be allowed to attend the games due to the pandemic.

The country of 127 million people has reported a total of 541,496 COVID-19 cases, including 9,710 deaths. It started a vaccination campaign early last month.

The traditional Olympic torch relay, which has been scaled back, started on March 25 in the Fukushima prefecture.

Due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases, Japan is mulling to impose a third state of emergency in at last four prefectures, including the capital Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo.

Japan’s plans to impose a state of emergency have received support from International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, who said the decision is “unrelated to the approaching games.”

Speaking at a news conference in Geneva on Wednesday, Bach said: “If this measure would be taken, I think it would be absolutely in line with the very diligent approach we see being taken by the Japanese government, the Tokyo metropolitan government and all of the Japanese authorities.”

“It is a preventative measure, and for this limited time. This is absolutely in line with the overall policy of the government, but it is not related to the Olympic Games,” he added.