Olympics: Singapore's athletes to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, armed with travel kit

Those bound for the Aug 24-Sept 5 Paralympics will also be fully vaccinated. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - All but one of the Team Singapore contingent of athletes and officials headed for the July 23-Aug 8 Tokyo Olympics are fully vaccinated, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong said in a parliamentary written reply on Monday (July 5).

The remaining member will complete his or her vaccination regimen by next week, and those bound for the Aug 24-Sept 5 Paralympics will also be fully vaccinated. Twenty-three athletes across 12 sports will compete at the Olympics, while six athletes will feature at the Paralympics.

Mr Tong was responding to Aljunied GRC MP Sylvia Lim's question on the progress of preparations for Singapore's participation at the Tokyo Games, and what measures will be taken to ensure that the health of its athletes will be adequately safeguarded.

All members of the contingent will be issued with a travel kit comprising surgical-grade respirators and masks, a protective face shield and disinfectants, said Mr Tong. An anti-microbial surface spray will be provided to pre-treat their attire and equipment with an anti-virus and anti-bacterial coating that can last for three to six months.

He added: "On the ground in Tokyo, Team Singapore will be supported by a joint Games Secretariat, comprising staff from (national agency) Sport Singapore, the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) and the Singapore National Paralympic Council, who will oversee the daily movement and well-being of all members of the contingent."

A medical team led by its chief medical officer and comprising physiotherapists from the Singapore Sport Institute (SSI), public healthcare institutions and the private sector, as well as sport scientists and psychologists from SSI, will be stationed at the Games Village to provide medical treatment and other support.

An operations centre has also been set up in Singapore so officials can closely monitor developments at the Games. Technology and mobile apps will be used to keep in touch with the contingent and monitor their well-being.

Mr Tong added that the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, SportSG and the SNOC have also worked with various government agencies to "scenario plan and prepare contingency plans, rehearsed with a table-top simulation exercise, to prepare for as many eventualities as possible, which includes possible evacuation".

All these measures, he said, are in addition to those already put in place by the Tokyo Organising Committee of both events, such as restricting spectators at event venues and limiting interaction between athletes from different nations.

Pre-departure tests prior to arrival in Tokyo, mask-wearing, a safe distancing protocol of 2m, daily antigen rapid tests, as well as the use of health reporting and contact-tracing apps, have also been mandated by the Tokyo organisers.

The minister also noted that MCCY has worked closely with health authorities and national sports associations since the end of the circuit breaker period in May last year to put in place training arrangements so that Tokyo-bound athletes can continue their training with strict safe management measures and other safety protocols in place.

He assured that the contingent's "well-being will be our priority, and we will continue to be vigilant and adaptable to changes".

"Let me also take the opportunity to ask all of Singapore to support our athletes at the Olympic Games, to rally and cheer them on, as they prepare to compete in their chosen sport at the highest level against world-class competitors," he added.

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