It faltered and even almost died out because of the Covid-19 pandemic: the Olympic flame will finally shine in Tokyo with a year late from July 23 for two weeks of sporting exploits, still under threat of the coronavirus and without spectators.
Already postponed for a year, the Tokyo Olympics, the first planetary meeting organized since the start of the pandemic, must be held from July 23 to August 8. But the organizing committee is already faced with the delicate handling of contact cases, sidelined and closely monitored but without being deprived of training.
Three first positive cases for the coronavirus detected in the Olympic village, in a supervisor of the South African football team on Saturday then two players on Sunday, have already led to the identification of 21 “Close contacts”, on which the organizers did not provide details. The Czech Olympic Committee also announced on Monday that one of its beach volleyball players, Ondrej Perusic, had tested positive on Sunday in the Olympic Village, as a member of the management at the airport had been the day before. The number of contact cases is not yet known.
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These people were immediately placed in solitary confinement, along with several others, considered to be contact cases. Closely supervised, sports contact cases are however entitled to train.
“Although you are a close contact, you can continue to do the minimum you need to prepare” the biggest sporting event in the world (23 July-8 August), summed up Pierre Ducrey, deputy director of the Games within the International Olympic Committee (IOC), to the press.
“Extra layer” of stress
As long as they remain negative for Covid-19, these “Close contacts” do not undergo isolation as rigorous as that reserved for infected people, who are placed in a place provided by Tokyo-2020, or in a care structure in the event of symptoms.
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Screened daily with nasopharyngeal tests, asked to eat in their room and transported “By dedicated vehicles”, contact cases must “Train apart” but can continue their preparation, detailed Pierre Ducrey.
“It is only when the experts have determined that you are no longer a risk to others that you can join your team”, he said Sunday, July 18.
” Immediate action “
The management of the health context promises to be increasingly complex as the Olympic Village, designed to accommodate 17,000 people, must experience a ” peak “ occupancy of about 6,000 residents during the central weekend of the Olympics, calculated Saturday July 17 Christophe Dubi.
But in addition to the high vaccination rate, which exceeds 85% among athletes, the manager relies on the intensity of screening, limitation of contacts and “Immediate action” in case of positive test to guarantee Games “Safe”.
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On the other hand, the IOC and Tokyo-2020 have no control over another category of participants placed in isolation, this time by the Japanese authorities: this is the case of six British athletes and two members of their management, tested negative. But “Contacts” of a passenger on their plane tested positive, and cloistered Sunday in their respective rooms at their team’s training camp in Yokohama.
The South African rugby sevens team had for its part been isolated last Wednesday after a positive case on its flight from Doha, then had the green light to go on training course in Kagoshima (south) with four days late, before that his coach Neil Powell is in turn tested positive.