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Study says restricting movement during Olympics can control Covid (lead)

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Tokyo (IANS) Restricting movement of people during forthcoming Olympics and Paralympics to same level as decrease in economic activity if the two events were to be called off could reduce spread of Covid-19, said a study conducted by two University of Tokyo professors.

There have been demands for cancellation of Olympics and Paralympics over fears of spreading Covid-19. But the study has said that Games can go ahead provided restrictions are implemented.

“If people’s movements at the events were restricted to the same level as a decrease in economic activity caused by the cancellation of the Games, the number of daily new COVID-19 cases would reach a peak of 842, according to the researchers,” said a report in Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun.

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“If the Olympic and Paralympic Games are called off, the study put the daily count of new cases at 822 in the middle of October (peak),” the report added.

The newspaper had on Wednesday quoted the study as saying that restricting people’s movements ‘to a level where all economic activity ceased’ will bring Covid-19 cases to a peak of 842, which on Thursday it clarified it has corrected to restricting people’s movements ‘to the same level as a decrease in economic activity caused by the cancellation of the Games’.

Taisuke Nakata, an associate professor of public policy, and Daisuke Fujii, a project assistant professor of economics, said that crowding in Tokyo would cause far more new Covid-19 cases than the arrival of over 100,000 (one lakh) people from abroad for the two events.

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Besides 15,000 athletes, 78,000 officials and workers are expected to arrive from abroad for the Olympics (July 23 to August 8) and Paralympics (August 24 to September 5).

“They (researchers) said key to stemming spread of novel coronavirus is to significantly curb movements of people by avoiding holding public-viewing gatherings and other events during the sports extravaganzas,” added the report.

— IANS

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