The organizers of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 have proposed to the Government to tighten the protocol of entry into Japan to immediately isolate any Olympic delegation in which a positive on covid upon arrival.
The proposal, revealed this Sunday in a television program by the executive head of Tokyo 2020, Hidemasa Nakamura, comes after two members of Uganda’s Olympic team tested positive for the pathogen once in the country, and criticism sparked by handling the case.
One of the nine members of the delegation, a coach, tested positive on arrival at a Tokyo airport on the 19th and was immediately transferred to government facilities for this type of case. It was later confirmed that he was infected with the delta variant.
The rest of the delegation was allowed to take a private bus to Izumisano, in the prefecture of Osaka (west), where they have their accommodation and training facilities until the start of the Games, and where an athlete subsequently tested positive.
The case marked the first detection of a positive for covid in the mandatory tests to which all foreign participants of the Olympic Games must submit and has raised criticism because the team was not isolated from the beginning, at a time of concern about the risks involved in holding an event of this magnitude in pandemic.
The guidelines established by the organizers of the Games oblige to isolate contacts close to a positive, which must be confirmed by the country’s health authorities, a process that in the case of the Osaka authorities took several days, which made it possible for the Ugandan team to travel by bus.
All of them, as well as eight other people (including several Izumisano officials and the drivers of the vehicle) were certified as close and isolated contacts later.
Nakamura said today in a televised debate on NHK public network that they will prepare “immediately“a system to isolate and test any delegation seen in a similar case,” even before a decision is made “on whether they are considered close contacts.
Tokyo 2020 considers close contacts to those who have been for 15 minutes or more with a person who has been confirmed to have covid-19, within one meter of distance and without wearing a mask. Health authorities assess after detect an infection who fit this definition.
The Ugandan Olympic team was the second foreign delegation to arrive in Japan after the Australian women’s team from softball ahead of the Games, which are scheduled to open on July 23.
The entire team had been inoculated with the two doses of the AstraZeneca and they had a certificate of having tested negative for the virus in the 72 hours prior to the trip.
In addition, they underwent a double test for the virus upon arrival in Japanese territory, in compliance with the anti-contagion measures imposed by the organizers, in which all except the aforementioned coach tested negative.