COVID-19: World’s oldest person pulls out of Tokyo 2020 Olympics torch relay over fears of spreading virus

The world’s oldest person has pulled out of the torch relay for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics because she does not want to spread COVID-19 in her care home.

Kane Tanaka, 118, was due to take part in the prestigious event in Fukuoka in southern Japan, on 11 May.

An Olympic official said: “We received an email from her family which said she wanted to withdraw from the relay as she and her family were concerned about spreading the virus at the nursing home.”

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The Olympic torch relay, which kicked off in March, has been hit by a coronavirus outbreak.

Six people who helped with the torch relay were diagnosed with COVID-19, the Tokyo 2020 organisers said on Sunday, bringing the total number of cases involved in the event to eight.

Some celebrities who were due to take part have also withdrawn.

Last month Japan declared a third state of emergency for major towns and cities, including Tokyo and Osaka, to curb a rise in infections.

Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga is set to meet senior cabinet members later to discuss further restrictions.

The news comes with fewer than three months until the start of the Tokyo Olympics, with concern growing over whether they can be held as planned.

The event is scheduled to start on 23 July after it was delayed last year due to the pandemic.

Japan has so far had 614,000 cases and just over 10,000 deaths.

The capital Tokyo is by far the worst affected, with 23% (142,000 cases) of cases and 18% (1,883) of deaths.

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