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After last year’s cancellation due to COVID-19, the Olympic Games are scheduled to kick off in Tokyo in three weeks. Various people in Japan are still questioning the decision to proceed with the games and the threat of provoking another wave of coronavirus that could affect the country’s healing cycle. The head of the Japan Doctors Union warned that the gathering could even nurture a new Olympic Variant of COVID-19.
Another group of Japanese scientists, involving some of the nation’s most senior specialists, cautioned that allowing spectators at the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will strengthen the virus transmission, locally and internationally.
Olympic games will not be the same for fans.
International spectators are barred from attending the games. Organizers said capacity would be fixed at 50 percent with a maximum of 10,000 people at a particular game venue. Though spectators from around the globe are prohibited from attending the Olympics, the event will still entice international athletes and officials, intensifying the risk of new variants of COVID-19 being incited into Japan.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo 2020 organizers, however, remain accountable in their intent to continue with already postponed games. The IOC has also said that 80 percent of athletes and possibly 80 percent of all participants of the games will be inoculated.
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Olympic games rule-book
Organizers have also published a “Playbook” to clarify Olympics policies that athletes, officials, journalists, and volunteers will have to abide by – including everyday tests for the 15,000 athletes flying in for the Games. Moreover, GPS trackers on every media personnel to assure they stay within the designated regions of the city.
In a recent array of events, A Ugandan team member tested positive on Saturday at Tokyo’s Narita airport and was quarantined there. However, the rest of the nine-person squad was authorized to travel.
Just three days later, a second Ugandan team member was also tested positive for the coronavirus, obliging seven town officers and drivers, who had close contact with the team, to self-isolate.
The panic situation accentuates after it was announced that both Ugandan team members had the delta variant of the virus, which is assumed to spread more easily and is labeled as a variant of concern by the FDA. Delta variant is by far the strongest mutated form of coronavirus, which has claimed thousands of lives in India and the UK.
Olympics do go ahead despite Threat of Olympic Variant
Japanese Olympic Committee President, Yasuhiro Yamashita said at a news presser:
“No matter what safety protocols you follow, infected people would come in and it cannot be avoided.”
After the ease in lockdown, the Japanese crowded back into restaurants causing the cases to bounce sharply this week, heightening the probability of Tokyo going into severe lockdown restrictions during the Olympics.
Vaccination drives are in full swing, but so are the number of daily COVID-19 cases, especially in the capital city – which is set to host the Olympics in about three weeks. The capital, Tokyo, recorded 673 new cases on Thursday, commemorating 12 straight days of week-on-week surges.
In front of the Tokyo Station, a timer counts down the days to the Olympic Games. But, is the clock also ticking for the spread of Olympic Variant coronavirus? Only time will tell! But for sure, the questions outnumber the answers.