International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach on Wednesday expressed support for the plan to impose a fresh coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo, but said the decision is unrelated to the approaching games.

Bach will attend a torch relay ceremony in Hiroshima on May 17 and meet with PM Suga the next day, reports say.

With the relay in full swing, organizers announced Thursday that a police officer helping with the event in Kagawa Prefecture has fallen ill with COVID-19, making him the first participant to be diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Protests against Tokyo Olympics as Japan suffers COVID surge | BBC NEWS
Protests against Tokyo Olympics as Japan suffers COVID surge [April 15] | BBC NEWS

Meanwhile, people protesting against the Olympics have asked NHK to investigate after the public broadcaster cut the sound while livestreaming the torch relay leg in Nagano to mute their chants of opposition to the games.

As for any athletes who plan to protest other issues during the games, the IOC has warned that Olympians who take a knee or lift a fist in support of racial equality will be punished, in line with the committee’s long-running ban on protests inside stadiums.

Olympians and Paralympians will also be tested for the novel coronavirus on a daily basis, sources tell Kyodo, rather than every four days as was originally planned, as variants continue to spread in Japan.