OLYMPICS/Taiwan's Olympic team to include disease prevention coordinators

07/18/2021 03:34 PM
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The standard kits issued to the athletes of Taiwan
The standard kits issued to the athletes of Taiwan's Olympic team. Photo courtesy of Chang Gung Memorial Hospital

Taipei, July 18 (CNA) Disease prevention coordinators will be part of the support staff when the first group of Taiwanese athletes competing in this year's Olympic Games leaves for Tokyo on Monday, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital said in a statement Sunday.

It will be the first time the national Olympic team will have disease prevention specialists on board, made necessary by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The hospital will send three doctors and one athletic trainer to accompany Taiwan's 68 athletes, Lin Yin-chou (林瀛洲), director of the Fitness Center at Chang Gung's Taoyuan branch, said in the statement.

The team will also include two disease prevention coordinators, who will be responsible for the daily COVID-19 tests of Taiwanese athletes, the hospital said.

Lin, who will be part of the national team's support staff for a third time at an Olympic Games, said he and his three colleagues have experience in taking part in a sports event affected by the spread of an infectious disease.

He was referring to the 2015 Summer Universiade in Gwangju, South Korea, when the country was fighting an outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus, and the 2016 Rio Games, when Brazil was battling the Zika virus.

In all, Taiwan's support staff will have 25 medical personnel, consisting of four doctors, 11 athletic trainers, eight physiotherapists, and two disease prevention coordinators, according to an earlier government press release.

Before the first group of 134 athletes, officials and support staff depart for Japan on a chartered flight Monday, they will be tested for COVID-19 at the airport, after being tested twice in the 96 hours before their departure, Lin said.

In addition to the daily tests, athletes have been given a thermometer and are required to report their daily temperature and overall health situation to the team via a smartphone app, according to Lin.

The number of Taiwanese athletes competing in Tokyo increased from 66 to 68 on Friday, after the Tokyo Games organizers notified the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee that tennis players Hsieh Yu-chieh (謝語倢) and Hsu Chieh-yu (許絜瑜) could compete in the women's doubles.

Because of the ongoing pandemic, the Taiwanese athletes, who will compete in 18 sports, will depart in groups, and they are required to leave Japan "no more than 48 hours after the completion of their competition or when they are eliminated," according to the playbook published by the organizers.

(By Chen Chieh-ling and Kay Liu)

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