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4 more COVID-19 cases surface among quarantine-exempt Tokyo Games arrivals

The Olympic rings are seen lit up in front of the Japan National Stadium in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, on Jan. 18, 2021. (Mainichi/Naotsune Umemura)

TOKYO -- Another four previously unreported coronavirus infections have been confirmed among foreign athletes and affiliates who entered Japan for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Mainichi Shimbun has learned from the Cabinet Secretariat.

    The infections come on top of two other cases recently reported among members of Uganda's Olympic delegation.

    According to the Cabinet Secretariat, the athletes and related staff additionally confirmed to have the coronavirus after arriving in Japan were a French national in February, an Egyptian in April, a Sri Lankan in May, and a Ghanaian delegate in June.

    Most of the cases were confirmed in airport quarantine immediately after arrival, but the Sri Lankan individual's case only came to light five days after they arrived in Japan -- the same time taken to detect the virus in one of the two Ugandan Olympic team members.

    Currently, the government is in principal refusing new entries by foreign nationals from all countries and regions. In special circumstances, granted for humanitarian reasons or due to other considerations, individuals are allowed entry, but they are asked to meet certain requirements, such as staying at specified facilities for a 14-day period of isolation.

    Olympic and Paralympic athletes, as well as their associated staff, however, can be exempted from the requirements under special rules. Of the 2,925 athletes and their related parties who entered Japan between Jan. 1 and June 13, over 70% -- 2,213 people -- have asked for quarantine exemptions and have gone immediately to accommodation facilities, qualifying tournaments or preparatory events.

    It is expected that by the end of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, around 70,000 people will have entered Japan in connection with the games.

    (Japanese original by Ryuko Tadokoro, Political News Department)

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