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Paralympics: First COVID-19 case confirmed in Athletes Village

Bengaluru, August 19: The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games organisers have confirmed the first coronavirus (COVID-19) case in the Athletes' Village five days prior to the start of the event.

The Paralympic Games 2020 is scheduled to start on Tuesday (August 24) and will go on till September 5, with as many as 4,400 athletes from 160 teams set to compete in Tokyo.

Taking a cue from the recently concluded Tokyo 2020 Games, all fans were barred from the Paralympics as well because of the surge in COVID-19 pandemic cases in Japan.

Tokyo Paralympics take a leaf out of Olympics book: No fans during pandemicTokyo Paralympics take a leaf out of Olympics book: No fans during pandemic

There were a few exceptions made during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with some fans allowed in outlying areas away from Tokyo.

But for Paralympics, all fans are barred except for the possibility of some children attendinding unspecified events.

However, in a big blow to the organisers, the first case was reported from the Games Village, just five days before the showpiece was about to start.

According to a report published by Al Jazeera website, the case in the Athletes' Village concerns a non-resident of Japan, who is currently in a 14-day quarantine period.

The latest figures provided confirmed 16 new cases in total, with one recorded inside the Athletes' Village and 15 outside.

No athletes have tested positive for the dreaded virus so far.

Organisers have also asked the public not to come out to view road events.

The decision to ban spectators was announced after a meeting with International Paralympic Committee president Andrew Parsons, organising committee president Seiko Hashimoto, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and Olympic Minister Tamayo Marukawa.

The Paralympics will open on August 24 with about 4,400 athletes, a far smaller event compared to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics which had 11,000 athletes.

But the Paralympics come as new infections have accelerated in Tokyo, which may expose an athlete population that is more vulnerable to COVID-19.

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Story first published: Thursday, August 19, 2021, 15:42 [IST]
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