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Africa News of Sunday, 20 June 2021


Ugandan Olympic athlete tests positive for COVID-19 in Tokyo

Uganda team arriving at the at Narita International Airport Uganda team arriving at the at Narita International Airport

A first coronavirus case among arriving athletes has been registered in Tokyo, a month before the start of the Olympic Games.

The Japanese government announced on Sunday that a member of the Olympic team from Uganda tested positive on arrival at Narita International Airport and was prevented from leaving the building.

The remaining eight delegation members travelled by bus to their host city of Izumisano in the western Osaka Prefecture.

The team from Uganda, which is competing in the boxing, weightlifting and swimming events, is the second group from abroad after the women's softball team from Australia to arrive for the Games.

The unnamed athlete from Uganda was vaccinated as were team mates. The athlete submitted a negative test certificate within 72 hours before leaving for Japan as required, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported.

The mayor of Izumisano, Hiroyasu Chiyomatsu, said the remaining eight team members who had travelled to Japan would be asked not to train for the time being and to be tested daily for the coronavirus.

The team's departure from Uganda had been delayed by three days due to an increase in the number of infections in the African country.

According to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), 80 per cent of the athletes at the Olympic Village will have been vaccinated by the start of the Games.

The mega-event was postponed for a year because of the pandemic. The Games will now be held from July 23 to August 8 under strict hygiene rules.

A new survey on Sunday showed a large majority of Japanese fear a resurgence of coronavirus infections because of the Olympics Games. Kyodo's poll said 86 per cent of respondents expressed this concern.

Kyodo also reported that organisers want to allow around 20,000 spectators to attend the opening ceremony.

In addition to Olympic officials, ticket holders from Japan would also be admitted to the event on July 23 under the plans.

A decision on whether to admit Japanese spectators to the competitions is expected on Monday. Games organizers will then consult with the International Olympic Committee, Japan's government and the host city of Tokyo.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga had recently said he was open to allowing up to 10,000 fans in the arenas, provided no more than 50 per cent of the seats were taken. However, the most important coronavirus government expert, Doctor Shigeru Omi, advised against this.

The Kyodo survey showed that 40 per cent of Japanese polled are in favour of having no spectators.

Foreign fans are banned from entering the country for the Olympics.

The planned public viewings at the Olympics in Tokyo have been cancelled because of the pandemic. Instead, some of the six venues in Japan's capital will be used as vaccination centres, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike announced on Saturday.

In another pandemic measure, Games organizers announced on Sunday that condoms would not be distributed to athletes at the Olympic Village, as is tradition.