Olympics-World's oldest person pulls out of torch relay

·1 min read
Kane Tanaka, born in 1903, smiles as a nursing home celebrates three days after her 117th birthday in Fukuoka

TOKYO(Reuters) - The world's oldest person, a 118-year-old Japanese woman, has decided not to take part in the torch relay for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics over pandemic fears, an official at her nursing home said on Wednesday.

Kane Tanaka, who was awarded a Guinness World Record, was slated to be one of the relay participants in Fukuoka in southern Japan, which will start on May 11, said the official.

"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," the official said at the home.

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 Sunday, bringing the total number of cases involved in the event to eight.

Some celebrities who were due to take part have withdrawn from the relay due to safety reasons amid the pandemic.

Japan last month declared a COVID-19 state of emergency for the major population centres including Tokyo and Osaka to curb the resurgence of infections.

The government is considering an extension of the measures, the Yomiuri Newspaper reported on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Karishma Singh)