Tokyo heat may add new COVID wrinkle to Olympics

With just days to go before the Olympics are due to kick off in Japan, extreme heat in Tokyo has added yet another wrinkle to its COVID concerns.

Medical experts are warning that first responders could easily confuse heatstroke and coronavirus patients.

Both conditions bear similar symptoms like high temperature and dehydration.

Shoji Yokobori is the chair of Nippon Medical School Hospital's Emergency and Critical Care Department:

"When the people or patients have high temperature, the EMT (Emergency Medical Technicians), you know the EMT in the ambulance, cannot distinguish, separate the diagnose between COVID-19 or heat-stroke. This is a problem, because the ambulance people or EMT has to send the patient to hospital under the protection of COVID-19 (protocols), this means many medical workers have to work harder."

There have also been concerns that the heat could offer an unfair advantage to Japanese Olympic athletes over foreign competitors.

In previous Olympics foreign athletes would normally arrive early, so that they can train and adapt to the local climate. But due to the pandemic there have been delays this year.

With the number of coronavirus cases still rising in Japan, the head of the Olympics' organizing committee hasn't ruled out a last-minute cancellation of the event.

There have been 67 infections detected among those accredited for the Games this month.

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