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Sport Olympics-Athlete return could lead to easier travel for vaccinated Australians

08:20  22 june  2021
08:20  22 june  2021 Source:   msn.com

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Australia 's Olympic hopefuls will be vaccinated before they leave for Tokyo — and some of them will receive the vaccine but never make the trip. Here's what we know. What are the plans for their time on the ground at the Olympics ? How will they stay safe? And what will happen when they return home? Here's what we know. When will the vaccinations start? The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) plans to start vaccinating athletes and other team members and officials next week.

Australian athletes and officials heading to the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will be given priority access to COVID-19 vaccines ahead of the games. Key points: The decision puts the athletes in phase 1b of Australia 's COVID-19 vaccination program. "However, for the rest of our team members, some of whom face the prospect of travelling overseas in the coming weeks for qualification events before heading to Tokyo, this decision allows complex planning to proceed with more certainty."

By Nick Mulvenney

a group of people wearing costumes: Australian women's softball team attend a training session in Ota © Reuters/KIM KYUNG-HOON Australian women's softball team attend a training session in Ota

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The return of athletes and officials to Australia after the Tokyo Olympics could lead to a loosening of travel restrictions for people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, the Australian team's medical director said on Tuesday.

Australia will be sending about 480 athletes to Japan for the Games in July and August and they, along with more than 500 officials and media, will be forced into mandatory hotel quarantine for 14 days when they get back home.

Dr David Hughes told a media briefing that such a large group would provide the government with a good idea of the risk of community infection from vaccinated people entering the country.

Japanese who support the Games fear speaking out

  Japanese who support the Games fear speaking out Some Japanese - including athletes - are afraid to come forward and show support for the Olympics.The Tokyo Olympics, up until the pandemic, may have been an unlikely target. But with less than 50 days till the start of the event, the majority of the public say they want the Games to be cancelled or postponed again.

National cabinet has agreed to vaccinate Australians on ‘essential’ outbound travel , despite rollout delays affecting some priority groups. The plan could be difficult to implement for those under 50 given the Pfizer vaccine is recommended by health authorities but in short supply. Whether a traveller would require one or both doses of a vaccine before departing Australia is yet to be determined. National cabinet agreed to “continue the restrictions in place in respect of applications for travel to high-risk countries”.

An Australian airport boss has hit out at hard border lockdowns and ad hoc travel restrictions, saying they throw travel plans into chaos and hit airports and airlines hard. Stephen Byron, CEO at Canberra Airport, also says Australia needs to get its vaccination program in order, incentivize people to get it and Now the vaccination rollout has begun, industry figures like Stephen Byron seem underwhelmed by the Australian Government’s continuing refusal to let vaccinated Australians travel internationally. In some cases, as with Perth last weekend, vaccinated West Australians could not other some

"No doubt, this is the biggest cohort of fully vaccinated individuals going off to a medium-risk environment," he said.

"Coming back into Australia from overseas as a fully vaccinated cohort of more than 1,000 people, I think it provides an interesting opportunity for the Australian government to have a look at what the infection rates are.

"This unique situation could help inform future policy settings (and) it could be an interesting spin-off for the Australian people."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in April that his government was looking at a system whereby people who have been vaccinated might be able to quarantine at their homes after travelling abroad.

Hughes said more than 98% of athletes would be vaccinated and expressed great confidence in the health protocols put in place to protect athletes and the local population from the spread of COVID-19 during the Games.

"There's no doubt that the Olympics is challenging but my intention is that all Australians go in and come out without contracting COVID-19," he said.

"There's no guarantees with COVID but I think we have an excellent plan in place and I'm not expecting a large number of Australian athletes to contract COVID."

The Australian team have added extra protocols to those demanded by Games organisers, including a COVID-19 test for athletes 14 days before they depart for Japan, but Hughes said the preparations were not just about health security.

"We're not going there to avoid COVID, we're going there to perform," he said.

(Editing by Robert Birsel)

Jill Biden touts vaccine in poorly inoculated Mississippi .
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — First lady Jill Biden visited one of the states least vaccinated against COVID-19 on Tuesday, encouraging residents of Mississippi to get their shots and telling them, "The White House, our administration — we care about you.” “I’m here today to ask all of the people who can hear my voice, who can see my face, to get their shot," Biden said after visiting a clinic at Jackson State University, one of the largest historically Black universities in the country. She was scheduled to visit another vaccination clinic in Nashville with country singer Brad Paisley later Tuesday.

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