Bubble helps Olympics escape Covid surge despite infections rising in Japan

By Antonio Hermosín Gandul

Tokyo, Aug 7 (EFE).- The Tokyo Olympics have reached their final stretch with authorities managing to prevent a surge in Covid-19 infections inside the bubble arrangement, although the record coronavirus wave across Japan has kept alive the debate over its possible link with Games.

Covid-19 was the biggest organizational challenge facing the first Olympics in history to be held in the middle of a pandemic, and the hosts and the International Olympic Committee have claimed that it has been overcome successfully.

Infections had been on the rise across the Japanese archipelago for weeks ahead of the Games and have kept rising in recent days, a phenomenon blamed on the Delta variant as well as the mega sporting event by some experts.

The strict anti-infection protocols, including stringent restrictions on the participants’ movements and constant testing, have prevented even a single transmission of the virus between those involved in the event and the local population, according to the hosts.

Since July, just 404 coronavirus infections have been detected among the thousands of athletes, officials, journalists and other participants in the Games, with only 29 athletes affected, although none of them has fallen seriously ill.

Apart from 90 percent of the Tokyo 2020 participants being vaccinated, most of them have also been tested daily, especially the athletes.

Nearly 600,000 RT-PCR tests have been carried out, out of which just 0.02 percent returned positive.

On Friday, IOC President Thomas Bach hailed the “efficiency” of the event’s anti-Covid strategy and said the Olympic bubble was one of the most tested, vaccinated community in the world, which had been subjected to the strictest preventive measures.

The situation inside the Olympic zone is in sharp contrast with the rest of Japan, where just around 32 percent of the population has been vaccinated, while daily infections have risen past 15,000 during the past week, the highest-ever daily caseload for the country.

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