Tokyo Olympics torch exhibition postponed to prevent spread of COVID-19

TOKYO, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- The exhibition of the Olympic and Paralympic Games across the greater Tokyo area has been postponed due to the worsening situation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

File photo taken on Feb. 15, 2020 shows that Tokyo 2020 Torch Relay Official Ambassador Ishihara Satomi (R) rehearses passing the Olympic flame to a stand-in torchbearer during the Torch Relay rehearsal in Hamura, Tokyo, Japan. (File Photo: Xinhua)

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced on Thursday in a statement that the decision is made to "reduce the flow of people and the further spread of COVID-19."

The torches have traveled to 14 places since Nov. 2 and was scheduled to be exhibited on Thursday in Akiruno City. The exhibition will be postponed until January 29.

Other exhibitions may also be postponed since Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has declared a state of emergency in the Tokyo metropolitan area including Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures, authorizing tougher measures to fight a resurgence in COVID-19 infections.

The state of emergency will be effective from Friday to Feb. 7, with measures including urging people to stay at home and calling for restaurants and bars to stop serving alcohol by 7 p.m. and close by 8 p.m.

Gyms, department stores and entertainment facilities will also be subject to shorter hours.