Handover of Olympic flame behind closed doors

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FILE – In this March 20, 2019, file photo, Olympic torches of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are displayed during a press conference in Tokyo. Members of the Japanese soccer team that won the Women’s World Cup in 2011 will be the first to carry the torch for the Tokyo Olympics when the relay opens on March 26, 2020. Organizers made the announcement on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019 but did not say which player – or players – would be the first to carry the torch. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

(AP) Greece’s Olympic committee says the handover ceremony for the Olympic flame for the Tokyo games scheduled this Thursday will take place behind closed doors as part of efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

The Hellenic Olympic Committee said the accreditation cards that had been issued for the ceremony at the Athens Panaetenaic Stadium, where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896, will not be valid.

The HOC’s headquarters will also be closed from Monday until further notice, it added.

Last week, the committee canceled the remainder of the Olympic torch relay after crowds gathered in Sparta in southern Greece to watch part of the torch relay, where the torch was carried by actor Gerard Butler.

Greek health authorities have warned people to stay home and have shut restaurants, bars and cafes, ski resorts, hair salons and movie theaters to curb the virus.

Greece currently has 331 confirmed cases and four deaths.

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