The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic flame arrived in Tokyo on Friday as virus cases hit new records in Japan just four days before the Games begin.
Japan’s daily infections topped 25,000 for the first time on Thursday, with the number of severe cases higher than ever with fears that the nation is battling a fifth wave driven by the more contagious Delta variant.
Organisers therefore urged participants to follow virus rules with increased vigilance.
Tokyo 2020 official, Hidemasa Nakamura said: “The infection situation today is different to how it was before the Olympics. It has deteriorated.
“And the local medical system is also in a very tight situation.
“Para athletes, compared to Olympic athletes, risk having even more serious symptoms, so we need to be even more careful.”
The pandemic-delayed Olympics were held mostly behind closed doors, with athletes tested daily and confined to their accommodation and Games venues.
These conditions will largely be replicated at the Paralympics, which opens on Tuesday with around 4,400 athletes set to compete in 22 sports.
On Friday, the number of fully vaccinated people reached 50 million, or around 40 percent of the population.