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Japan strengthens health control because Olympic athletes test positive


Author: Yamaguchi Mari
Associated Press

Tokyo (Associated Press)-Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga promised to strengthen health control at the airport on June 28 after a member of the Ugandan Olympic team tested positive for COVID-19 in the town where his training camp is located. This triggered This has raised concerns about the spread of infection in the upcoming Olympic Games.

A Ugandan player, reportedly a coach, tested positive at Tokyo Narita Airport on June 26 and was quarantined there. But the remaining nine-member team was allowed to take a chartered bus to the pre-Olympic camp in western Osaka, with a trip of more than 300 miles.

Three days later, a second Ugandan also tested positive for the virus, forcing seven town officials and drivers who had close contact with the convoy to self-quarantine. The team members were quarantined in a local hotel.

After announcing that both Ugandans have a delta variant of the virus, concerns escalated, which is believed to be more likely to spread.

In response to criticism of the case, Yoshihide Suga rushed to Tokyo Haneda International Airport to check the virus tests of immigration personnel, and vowed to ensure proper border control, as more and more Olympic and Paralympic contestants are on July 23. Entered Japan before the opening of the Japanese Olympic Games.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Katsunobu said that Japan plans to strengthen the isolation requirements for Olympic athletes and other participants from areas where the delta strain has been detected, requiring daily virus testing for the 7 days before traveling to Japan — an extension from the current 4 days — And up to 14 days after entry, and isolation training will be conducted in the first three days.

The president of the Tokyo Medical Association Haruo Ozaki said on NHK public television that the Uganda case shows that Japan’s border sanitation control can easily be breached.

“Obviously, border controls are not enough, although there is enough time to deal with them,” he said.

The governor of Osaka Yoshimura Bowen said that the entire team should be quarantined at Narita Airport.

Government officials initially argued that the airport health control department had correctly tested and isolated positive cases, and stated that the job of tracking and isolating suspected close contacts is not their job, but the job of local health officials.

Yasuhiro Yamashita, chairman of the Japanese Olympic Committee, said at a news conference in Tokyo: “No matter what measures are taken, the infected will come in. This is inevitable.”

“Strict airport border control is very important,” Yamashita said, urging the government to do more instead of shifting all the responsibility for tracing contacts to local authorities.

Experts have noticed a significant increase in the movement of people in Tokyo and other metropolitan areas since the state of emergency was lifted on June 21, and warned that there are signs of a return of infection in the Tokyo area.

On June 28, Tokyo reported 317 new cases, which was higher than the 236 cases a week ago. It increased weekly for the ninth consecutive day, and cases of delta variants increased. Experts say this may accelerate the recovery to a level that may require another state of emergency during the Olympics.



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