Kane Tanaka, 118, raised concerns over COVID-19 for the cancellation as officials consider extending the lockdown.

The world’s oldest person, a 118-year-old Japanese woman, has decided not to participate in the torch relay for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics due to concerns about the coronavirus, an official at her care home said on Wednesday. medics, casting more shadows. an event, which already faces significant hurdles, including a possible lockdown extension.

Kane Tanaka, who is named in Guinness World Records, was expected to be one of the participants in the relay in Fukuoka, southern Japan, which begins on May 11, the official said.

“We received an email from her family saying she wanted to step down as she and her family were concerned about the spread of the virus at the nursing home,” they said.

The Olympic torch relay, which began in March, has been undermined by the coronavirus outbreak in Japan, which has led to restrictions being imposed in major cities, including Tokyo and Osaka.

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

Some celebrities who were scheduled to participate withdrew from the relay for safety reasons.

The government plans to extend the state of emergency for measures first announced last month, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, officials are leaning towards an extension of measures in the prefectures of Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo beyond May 11.

Persistent doubts

Osaka reported 884 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, according to public broadcaster NHK, and hospital capacity for critically ill patients is believed to have exceeded 99%.

With the continued increase in cases, Osaka Governor Yoshimura Hirofumi on Tuesday questioned the possibility of ending the state of emergency in the western prefecture.

Daily cases also remain high in Tokyo with 609 infections reported on Tuesday. At least 65 of the patients are said to be in serious condition.

The extension of the measures, which were imposed on April 25, may raise further doubts as to whether the Games, which are due to start on July 23, can still go ahead as planned.

The games have already been delayed for a year due to the pandemic.

Athletes compete in the half marathon race which also serves as a test event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Sapporo, Japan on Wednesday. [Charly Triballeau/Reuters]

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will meet with senior government ministers on Wednesday to discuss an extension, Yomiuri reported without citing sources.

He did not specify the length of an extension, but the governor of Osaka prefecture said an extension from three weeks to one month may be necessary, according to other national media.

Reuters news agency calls to Suga’s office went unanswered. Japanese government buildings and financial markets were closed on Wednesday for the annual Golden Week holiday.

Under the state of emergency in Tokyo and other urban areas, the government demanded the closure of restaurants, bars and karaoke lounges serving alcohol.

Department stores and cinemas have also been closed and spectators banned from major sporting events.

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