Tokyo , June 27 (Reuters) :
Japan plans to ask Olympic athletes from India and five other countries hit hard by the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus to have daily virus tests for seven days before leaving for the Games, a Japanese newspaper said on Sunday. The Indian Olympics Association has already registered its strong protest against any such move and said that such steps would disrupt the Indian players’ preparation for the games in Tokyo.
Currently, all overseas athletes are being asked to have coronavirus tests twice during the four-day period before their departure for the Tokyo Olympics, which are set to start on July 23 after a year’s delay due to the pandemic.
The Japanese government aims to put the new rule, which will be applied to athletes from India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, into effect on July 1, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported, without citing sources.
Olympics Minister Tamayo Marukawa said on Friday a member of the Ugandan Olympic team who tested positive for the coronavirus upon arrival had the Delta variant, adding to concern the Games may trigger a new wave of infections.
Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by William Mallard