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Coronavirus

Osaka Issues Virus Spike Warning, Wants Torch Relay Rerouted

TOKYO — Japan’s Osaka prefecture issued a special warning Wednesday that a rapid surge in coronavirus cases is placing medical systems in the region at the verge of collapse and requested the cancellation of the Olympic torch relay along all roads in the prefecture.

Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura declared a “medial emergency” in the western Japanese prefecture, where daily cases have reached new highs, and asked hospitals to urgently prepare additional beds.

Yoshimura, who previously asked for a cancellation of the torch relay only in Osaka city, said all segments on public roads should be canceled. The Osaka leg of the Olympic torch run is scheduled for April 13-14.

The Tokyo Olympics are to start in just over three months, as Japan’s vaccination drive is still in its initial stages.

“Medical systems are on the verge of collapse,” Yoshimura said at a news conference. He attributed the rapid spike in infections to a new variant of the virus.

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