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Coronavirus: Lighting Ceremony of Olympic Flame without spectators

The Lighting Ceremony of the Olympic Flame will be held without the presence of spectators, the Hellenic Olympic Committee said on Monday. The Committee rejected a postponement request by the Olympia Municipality. The Ceremony is scheduled to take place in Ancient Olympia, Peloponnese, on Thursday, March 12.

In a statement issued on Monday, the HOC said it held a meeting on Monday regarding the Lighting Ceremony of the Olympic Flame (March 12, in Ancient Olympia). “Taking into consideration the latest decisions of the Hellenic Government about the protection of public health due to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the HOC made the following decisions,” the statement said.

“The Lighting Ceremony of the Olympic Flame will be held without the presence of spectators and will be attended by only 100 accredited guests from the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee.

The dress rehearsal on March 11 will be closed to the public and to the journalists.The media accreditation will be extremely limited.

We urge the Mayors of the cities through which the Olympic Flame will pass or stay overnight to follow the instructions of the Ministry of Health and the National Public Health Organization.

The Hellenic Olympic Committee will continue to monitor the situation and, depending on developments, will make decisions, always with a view to protecting public health.”

Over the weekend, the Mayor of Olympia requested the Hellenic Olympic Committee to postpone the Ceremony,  proposing the Lighting Ceremony to take place in May.

“The danger of low number of spectators, with limited participation by officials and delegated countries and in widespread fear and anxiety, will damage the institution’s importance and prestige,” the Municipality Council said in a statement on Friday.

The postponement request was simple rejected.

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