The Summer Olympic Games is scheduled to commence in four days and even though organisers have put several measures in place to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus at the event, already two athletes have tested positive inside the athletes’ village in Tokyo, Japan.
Well known physician Dr. Adrian Lorde told Barbados TODAY the protocols and lengths to which the organisers have gone to ensure the safety of all involved including the athletes, are the best the Japanese can do.
“I think it is the best they can do if we are going to go ahead with the Olympics, then they have to go ahead with those measures in place. The athletes are to come in, participate and leave, which does not allow for proper acclimatisation and the recuperation from jet lag and so on.
“There is a five-day period that they have so that should pretty much suffice to get them ready. But it is going to be a different environment for the athletes and officials, especially those who have not been performing in this environment (COVID-19).
“Fortunately, most of the qualifying events may have had some of these precautionary measures in place. The masking, sanitation, distancing but they are trying to create as much of a bubble as possible,” Lorde told Barbados TODAY.
The two individuals that tested positive so far are South Africa soccer players Thabiso Monyane and Kamohelo Mahlatsi. A video analyst (Mario Masha) also on the South Africa team tested positive.
Lorde, a former president of the Regional Anti-Doping Agency said given the current situation he supports the non-inclusion of spectators.
“They are trying to make the Olympics as safe as possible for the athletes, officials. Not having spectators present is not the best for the athletes but in this present state that is the best that can be done.
“That would reduce the possibility of it being spread from the spectator point of view. They have put a lot of other things in place to reduce the possibility of spread from the athletes and officials point of view,” Lorde explained.
Current Chairman of the National Anti-Doping Commission, Lorde stated that he foresees a problem in terms of the volunteers – administrators, medical staff and bus drivers – not being vaccinated in time for the Olympics Games.
“But where it will fall down is where the Japanese officials and administrators, the Japanese medical staff, the bus drivers, chauffeurs who will drive the various teams around. That is where the problem will be because they are not going to be in a bubble as far as I know.
“From what we are hearing they are trying to get them vaccinated in time for the games but all wouldn’t be and that is where all of our athletes have to be very cautious. The people preparing the meals, the people who clean the rooms, are all going to be Japanese. I don’t know what level of preparation, what level of immunisation they will have but that is where the problem will arise,” Lorde said.
So far only the Barbados swimming team comprising Alex Sobers, Danielle Titus and her coach Leah Stancil have entered the village in anticipation of the opening day of the competition which is Friday, July 23rd.
Barbados’ chief medical officer for the Olympic Games is Dr. Carl Ward and the COVID-19 liaison officer for Barbados is Gail Craig-Archer.
While he hopes that all goes well, Lorde shared some advice for the Barbadian athletes who he is confident will be prepared as best as they possibly can for any eventuality.
“I think we are pretty much prepared for these things. The masking and sanitation, we are prepared for those eventualities. Just say safe, don’t let your guard down, remove your mask when in competition and follow all the guidelines.
“What we have to recognise is that there are 205 countries taking part in the games. All of the athletes will not be vaccinated and they have to be careful with the meeting and greeting of peers from other countries. Normally again we exchange souvenirs and it wouldn’t be the games as usual.
“You have to keep your head on and your mask on and be conscious of that germ around the place. Our athletes were prepared, they had their pre-game meeting on zoom and all of them attended,” Lorde stressed.