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Efficacy of Olympic anti-virus measures being questioned

Cases in which people tested negative at the airport but were later found to be infected with COVID-19 are occurring one after another among those arriving in Japan for the Olympic Games. Since many more Olympics-linked personnel are expected to enter Japan, the efficacy of the anti-infection measures being taken at the Athletes’ Village (Tokyo’s Chuo Ward) and other facilities is being called into question.

 

When people are found to be infected with COVID-19 on the premises of the Athletes’ Village, the Chuo Ward Public Health Center makes arrangements for hospitalization and treatment. According to the Tokyo metropolitan government, a temporary “public health center” has been set up near the Athletes’ Village to provide care for Olympics personnel. It is staffed by about 30 nurses dispatched by the metropolitan government.

 

In response to a request from the Tokyo organizing committee of the Olympics and Paralympics to pitch in when the number of positive cases surges, the director of another public health center in Tokyo replied by saying it would be “difficult to cooperate” on account of concern over personnel shortages. Since the number of cases is surging again in Tokyo, getting help from other public health centers will not be possible. The temporary public health center aims to operate around the clock. “We must do whatever we can deal with it,” said a person from the metropolitan government.

 

According to the Chuo Ward office, this temporary health facility will not accept Olympics personnel staying outside Chuo Ward. Depending on the situation, a public health center in the ward where these people are staying will test and determine who has been in close contact with them. If a large cluster involving not only athletes but also Olympics personnel occurs, coordination between municipalities will become indispensable.  

 

However, the Athletes’ Village is the only place visiting athletes will be staying. An expert belonging to a government subcommittee says, “We may have little choice but to respond to clusters with such measures as zoning. This approach is similar to what we did (when a cluster occurred) on a cruise ship.” (Abridged)

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