Extra precautions against infection at Paralympics

Organizers of the postponed Tokyo Paralympics are facing challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic as some athletes, especially those with respiratory problems, have a higher risk of developing severe symptoms once infected.

The Tokyo Paralympics will open on August 24, 16 days after the closing of the Olympics. During the 13-day Paralympic Games, about 4,400 athletes are scheduled to take part in 539 events across 22 sports.

It is expected that many of the spectators will be people with disabilities and their caregivers, who could be in close contact with each other while watching events.

International organizations of various sports and the International Paralympic Committee are working to draw up measures to mitigate infection risks.

They are studying specific ways to protect Paralympians, including how to keep distances between athletes, shield them from droplets, and disinfect their equipment.

But as the pandemic continues, international para-sports events are being canceled, affecting the selection process for the Paralympics, as well as training.

That poses further obstacles for organizers, in addition to safeguarding athletes and spectators from the virus.