The traditional, fan-favorite Olympic Torch Relay, which usually kicks off the Olympic games, won’t be happening through the Osaka streets this year due to COVID-19 concerns. 

The 2021 Olympic Games will be taking place in Tokyo, Japan this summer and it has already announced that no international spectators will be welcomed at the games due to the fear of the virus spreading. 

Other cities in Japan started the torch relay journey to Tokyo on March 25 in Fukushima where many gathered and crowded the streets, which caused the conversation of canceling the public torch relay in Osaka. 

“Today, we asked people in the whole of Osaka to refrain from engaging in unnecessary, non-essential outings. So, we are canceling torch relay that will take place on public streets in the whole of the prefecture,” Hirofumi Yoshimura, the governor of Osaka said on Wednesday.

The relay will still take place, but “behind close doors” at the Expo ‘70 Commemorative Park on April 13 and 14, CNN reported. 

"The number of daily new cases increased four times faster this week than before. The medical system is at a very severe level," Yoshimura continued. 

While Japan has been pleasantly successful when it comes to preventing the spread of COVID-19, Oskaka did see a record high of new cases on Wednesday coming in at 878. 

The Olympics will begin on July 23 and conclude on Aug. 8, while the Paralympics begin on Aug. 24 and conclude on Sept. 5.

Overseas fans will be barred from the Olympics for the first time Overseas fans will be barred from the Olympics for the first time Photo: AFP / Philip FONG