State Minister of Sports Hamson Denis Obua hands over the national flag to the team Uganda members during the official flag off ceremony in Lugogo (Credit: UOC Media)

There is panic in the team Uganda camp in Japan after a yet to be identified member tested positive for the Coronavirus, according to aljazeera news.

The affected member was thus barred entry into Japan, as the other eight members on the team left early on Sunday by chartered bus for the host town of Osaka in central Japan.

This is the first detected infection among athletes arriving for the Tokyo Games opening in five weeks.

The Ugandan team was the second, after the Australian women’s softball team, to arrive for the Olympics, which open July 23.

Uganda’s first batch had five athletes (three boxers and one Swimmer and a weight lifter) as it was officially flagged off by the Minister of State for Sports, Hamson Obua at Lugogo in Kampala on Friday, 18th June.

State minister of sports Hon. Denis Hamson Obua (holding flag) as he officially saw off the team to Japan (Credit: UOC Media)

The national boxing team (Bombers) Musa Shadir Bwogi, David Ssemujju were joined by a female boxer Catherine Nanziri.

Others were weight lifter Julius Ssekitoleko and free style swimmer Ambala Atuhaire.

This group was led by David Katende Ssemakula, the Assistant General Secretary at National Council of Sports (NCS), Hakim Ssempereza (Weight lifting coach) as well as two boxing coaches Meddie Mulandi, and Patrick Lihanda.

The athletes and officials during flag off before leaving for Japan

Uganda has a total of 27 athletes who have so far qualified for the Olympics, majority of whom are runners.

Yasutoshi Nishimura, a minister in charge of economic policy, said on NHK TV Sunday that the government was looking into what had happened with border controls.

The athletes, arriving late on Saturday at Tokyo’s Narita airport, were all fully vaccinated with the AstraZeneca jabs and had negative PCR tests before boarding, the Asahi newspaper reported, quoting an anonymous Cabinet Secretariat official.

The team member who tested positive was not identified.

NHK said the individual will be staying at a government designated facility.

Critics have raised serious questions about the risks of holding the Olympics amid a pandemic. But the International Olympic Committee, Tokyo organizers and Japanese government insist the Games can be held safely.

“Let’s all wait a minute,” opposition legislator Renho said on her Twitter account. “This time, nine people arrived. For the Olympics, 100,000 people will be arriving. This is no time to be talking about how this will be a moving experience for our children.”

Japan requires a two-week quarantine for overseas arrivals, but the Olympic team isn’t subject to the same border controls.

The organizers are expected to decide on Monday on allowing some local fans in the stands. Plans for mass public viewing sites in Tokyo were canceled Saturday.

Fans from abroad were banned several months ago. Before the pandemic, Japan had been counting on the Olympics to deliver booming tourism and consumer spending.

Uganda is seeing an alarming rise in COVID-19 variants and has just tightened lockdown measures with a nation-wide lockdown.

About 590 deaths have been reported, likely an undercount, given the scarcity of testing.

In Japan, a state of emergency to curb the spread of the virus in Tokyo, Osaka and other urban areas ends on Sunday, although daily cases are still growing by several hundred.

There has been no lockdown in Japan. The so-called emergencies, which have lasted for most of this year, focus on having restaurants and stores close early, limiting crowd size at venues, and asking people to social distance, work from home and wear masks.

The vaccination rate in Japan is the slowest among developed nations, with about 6 percent of the population fully vaccinated.

Although the rollout is gradually picking up, most people are unlikely to be fully vaccinated ahead of the Olympics.

More than 14,000 people have died from the coronavirus in Japan.

Additional information from aljazeera

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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