Tokyo assesses use of Olympic venues as temporary medical facilities – paper

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People wearing protective masks, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, head to Tokyo, Japan, August 6, 2021. REUTERS / Kim Kyung-Hoon

TOKYO, Aug.22 (Reuters) – Authorities in the Japanese capital are considering converting some of the city’s Olympic and Paralympic venues into temporary medical facilities as they fight the surge in COVID-19 infections that have put pressure on the health system.

The fifth wave of infections in Japan, driven by the highly infectious delta variant, has prompted the government to extend emergency pandemic measures in Tokyo and other areas until September 12. read more

Organizers of the Paralympic Games, which will run from Tuesday to September 5, agreed last week to hold the Games generally without spectators, a step taken during the recently concluded Olympics. Read more

Medical experts have requested the temporary use of facilities owned by the Tokyo government, such as the Tokyo Aquatics Center, site of swimming competitions, and the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza used for badminton, the Sankei newspaper said.

However, they could be used at the earliest after the Paralympic Games, the newspaper said, adding that it may take longer to complete the arrangements.

Other challenges include enforcing strict infection control measures, acquiring sophisticated medical equipment and securing large numbers of medical personnel, he added.

City officials could not be reached for comment on a holiday.

Saturday’s 5,074 new daily infections in Tokyo surpassed 5,000 for a fourth straight day to come close to the Aug. 13 high of 5,773.

Paralympic Games organizers on Friday said the Games would take place under “very difficult” circumstances, with Tokyo hospitals overwhelmed in the battle against COVID-19. Read more

Thirty new daily infections were confirmed among Paralympic participants on Sunday, the highest figure to date, according to NHK broadcaster citing organizers.

Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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