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Olympic flame-lighting in Greece to proceed despite fast-spreading virus

Next week's flame-lighting ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics will go ahead in Greece despite concerns about the virus outbreak, organizers said Tuesday.

7 cases recorded in country; Greek leg of torch relay also a go, organizers say

The Olympic flame, which is ceremonially lit months in advance of the Summer Games at the birthplace of the ancient Olympics in southern Greece, will go ahead as planned next week. (Petros Giannakouris/Associated Press/File)

Next week's flame-lighting ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics will go ahead in Greece despite concerns about the virus outbreak, organizers said Tuesday.

The Greek Olympic committee said it is working closely with national health authorities and will hold meetings to re-evaluate the situation every two days. The committee, known as the HOC, also said the Greek leg of the torch relay will go ahead.

Greece has recorded seven cases of the virus, all linked with people who travelled from Italy.

The Olympic flame is ceremonially lit months in advance of the Games at the birthplace of the ancient Olympics in southern Greece, among the ruined pagan temples of Ancient Olympia. From there, it is carried in a week-long relay through Greece before being handed over to Games organizers.

The HOC said it would not allow spectators at the final rehearsal on March 11, the eve of the ceremony. It added that it would "reduce significantly" the number of accreditations.

The HOC is also cancelling lunches, dinners and receptions scheduled during the lighting ceremony in Ancient Olympia, and will recommend to local authorities to cut down on planned public events.

The flame will be handed over to Tokyo organizing officials on March 19.

WATCH | CBC Sports' Scott Russell says 'business as usual' for Tokyo organizers:

CBC Sports' Scott Russell explains how Olympics plans have been adjusted because of the coronavirus. 5:17

 

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