Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) President Christopher Samuda has sought to reassure the Jamaican delegation heading to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics that the Games will be safe.
The JOA boss made the comments after Tokyo Olympics organisers revealed the first COVID-19 case at the Athletes’ Village.
“With the positive finding in the village, I understand that protocols have been re-emphasised, medical personnel will be given more support, and a non-negotiable approach to infractions of rules and regulations and to non-adherence to the testing regime is being continuously reinforced,” Samuda told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
He added: “I am satisfied that measures are being taken to deliver a safe Olympic Games.”
With the 29th Summer Olympic Games set to start on Friday, organisers stated that an unnamed individual had tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the village, where up to 15,400 athletes and support staff are expected to gather over the next few days until the Games come to an end on August 8.
The infected person has been isolated at a hotel, and the organisers say they are ready to respond swiftly if there is a wider outbreak.
“The JOA has been on the alert from the very inception and briefings with our management team, which was established well before the advent of the pandemic, are taking place continually as we take all steps to protect the health of our delegation, which is paramount,” Samuda offered
“So, from the get-go, we have been in meetings and communication, emphasising to athletes, coaches and managers the imperative of adhering at the Games to all protocols and maintaining strict hygiene in terms of continual sanitation, maintaining social distance as best as you can, limiting your contact, and being very circumspect in exchanges.
“We will continue to emphasise this regime of safety and our medical personnel and support staff are on high alert and are very capable in treating any episodes which may arise. Further, we have established contact with medical personnel in Japan to give assistance to our medical team in delivering health care and, in particular, preventive health management.”
The JOA boss was convinced that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics organisers have done more than enough to miligate against an outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
“I am advised that there are specific COVID-19 centres, well-equipped and -staffed, that have been established separate and apart from the customary medical centres, where general care is administered and, specifically, injuries are treated. This is expected, but it demonstrates the serious efforts being made by the Government of Japan and the local organising committee to ensure safety and well-being.”
Boxer Ricardo Brown, judo competitor Ebony Drysdale Daley, and their respective coaches, Dewith Fraser and Fitzroy Davies, are the first two Jamaican Olympians to have arrived at the Athletes’ Village.
The management team of Gary Peart, chef de mission; Peter Higgins, deputy chef de mission; Elaine Hayden, COVID liaison officer (CLO); Lisa Jondeau, deputy CLO; Gregory Hamilton, logistics; Walter J Davis, games specialist; and doctors Lincoln Cox and Kevin Jones had already landed in the East Asian country.
The Games organisers conceded that athletes heading to Japan for the Olympics are probably worried about the first case at the Athletes’ Village, which is understandable, but they vowed to do everything possible to prevent an outbreak and to remain as open and transparent as possible.
“We are doing everything to prevent any COVID outbreaks. If we end up with an outbreak, we will make sure we have a plan in place to respond,” said Seiko Hashimoto, the chief organiser of the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Meanwhile, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said it was not yet known if the person had been vaccinated against COVID-19, but said competitors at the Games would be tested every day, “So, if someone tests positive, that person will be isolated immediately, whether there are any close contacts or no