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The Summer Olympic Games, amid a deadly pandemic, has not only faced criticism but also continuously making headlines as the number of Covid-19 cases has risen.
It is less than 24 hours now for the Olympic Games to officially begin in Japan's Tokyo, and a little over 40 Indian athletes will participate in the opening ceremony of this year's one of the biggest sporting event. But on 21 July, a Covid-19 fear in the Indian camp was prompted due to incorrect entries in the health status app.
After the Health Report App (OCHA) indicated three Indian officials with symptoms of Covid-19 but the other app did not, the President of Indian Olympic Association (IOA), Narinder Batra requested a clear picture from Prem Verma, who is the Deputy Chef de Mission of team India for Tokyo Olympics. According to reports, Verma, who is also the Covid-19 liaison officer, stated that no one had shown signs of the infection, and there was no positive case.
Verma said that there were inadvertent wrong entries by first-time users. He explained that "if you make wrong entries in updation of your health record, then it leads to the raising of the alarm by software and the CLO gets a mail to resolve it". He also added that "For example, if by mistake you record your temperature as 38 C (Celsius), then CLO will be alerted by the infection control software. There is no positive case in Team India".
It is just 44 Indian athletes who will take part in the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on 23 July. Athletes who have events the next day are advised to skip the ceremony, along with those who have recently landed in Tokyo. The overall Indian presence for the march past would be 50, with six officials.
The IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta said: "We won't like to create a situation where our athletes are in danger of getting infected. So a decision has been taken to limit the number of athletes and officials participating in the opening ceremony within 50".
This Summer Olympic Games, amid a deadly pandemic, has not only faced criticism but also continuously making headlines as the number of Covid-19 cases has risen. According to the latest reports, the two athletes living in the Olympic village tested positive for the coronavirus caused disease on 22 July, said Tokyo Olympics organisers. As per the officials, there are 12 new positive cases, including the two athletes, increasing the total number of positive Covid-19 cases to 87.
While a majority of the Japanese population wanted this year's Olympic Games to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 risk, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and organisers assured that precautions would be taken to ensure the safety of athletes and visitors, as well as the nervous Japanese population. But this week, for the first time, the organising committee warned that the Olympics might have to be cancelled if the number of cases in Tokyo and abroad continues to rise.
Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the committee, said: "What would happen if the infection were to spread further — well, I think when that happens, we have to fully consult. The infection may spread, or the infection may be brought under better control. When we see a concrete situation going forward, then we will consider the matter". But at a recent press conference, Seiko Hashimoto, the president of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, stated that they would enhance precautions to avoid Covid-19 clusters.
Last week, IOC President Thomas Bach said there was "zero" chance that visiting athletes would spread diseases to the general Japanese public, and his comments were widely panned as overconfident in the face of escalating cases.
Two South African football players tested positive for the virus on 18 July, making them the first athletes to get the infection in the Olympic Village. Meanwhile, the British Olympic Association revealed that six athletes and two staff members from its athletics squad were isolated after a positive case was detected on their flight to Japan. The growing number of athletes who have either cancelled their participation or have been put into long periods of quarantine at a time when the Olympics is about to begin has fueled fears that the sporting competition will be severely harmed by the virus.
Toyota, a global sponsor of the Tokyo Olympics, announced this week that it would not air television commercials related to the event in Japan, even though the company already airs commercials with the Olympics logo in other countries. This decision came as other corporate backers took the help of outside consultants to assess the reputational risk of being associated with this year's event.
Meanwhile, A Japanese government official said on 21 July that the login IDs and passwords of Tokyo Olympic ticket purchasers had been leaked on the internet. This is the latest in a string of setbacks for the organising committee. As per The Japan Times, the information of Paralympic ticket purchasers and those who used a volunteer portal for the Summer Games was also leaked online.
The official said that the organising body had launched an investigation into the matter. As reported, the extent of the leak is not enormous, and steps have already been taken to prevent it from spreading further. The unnamed official also stated that unauthorised access to computers or smartphones likely took the usernames and passwords used to log in to websites for the games' volunteers and ticket purchasers, and they were uploaded on a website that exposes personal information.