As Fiji battles one among the fastest-growing coronavirus outbreaks in the world, the Pacific Island’s Olympic workforce departed on Thursday for Tokyo on a freight aircraft.

Their fellow passengers? A cargo of frozen fish.

The coronavirus outbreak had thwarted plans to get the athletes to Japan on common planes after virtually all passenger flights from the nation have been suspended until the end of July. Only a choose variety of repatriation and freight flights have been allowed to depart.

The nation has been pummeled by the Delta variant of the virus, with ​​a mean of 57 day by day new instances per 100,000 folks over the previous two weeks, in accordance to a New York Times database. Just over 6 % of the inhabitants is absolutely vaccinated towards the coronavirus.

So arranging journey was a “logistical challenge,” Lorraine Mar, the chief government of the Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee, told The Associated Press. The resolution: a freight aircraft hauling principally frozen seafood, with simply sufficient passenger house for the athletes and different officers.

It’s a sharp distinction to different Olympians’ flashier modes of transport: U.S. basketball gamers Devin Booker, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton could journey to Tokyo in a private plane due to scheduling conflicts, whereas members of the British Olympian squad departed from Heathrow Airport in London on Tuesday wearing matching tracksuits in their team’s colors.

Around midnight native time, about 50 athletes and officers from Fiji, together with the nation’s males’s and ladies’s sevens rugby squads, departed on the flight from Nadi, the principal worldwide airport, to Tokyo forward of the Summer Games.

Before boarding, workforce members spent 96 hours in isolation and took assessments 72 hours forward of their departure, in keeping with pointers set by officers in Tokyo. One official with the Fiji Olympic workforce who tested positive for Covid-19 was withdrawn from the occasion.

Ahead of the workforce’s departure, the nation’s National Olympic Committee posted a video displaying masked well-wishers brandishing Fiji’s sky-blue flag as they waved goodbye.

The nation will compete in six sports activities, together with archery, judo and desk tennis. In 2016, 60 years after the nation first competed in the Olympics, Fiji gained its first medal when the males’s rugby workforce triumphed at the inaugural Olympic rugby sevens event in Rio de Janeiro.

In different developments throughout the world:

  • South Korea will elevate coronavirus restrictions to the highest degree in Seoul, its capital, and a few neighboring areas beginning on Monday, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum mentioned on Friday. The announcement comes after South Korea reported on Thursday its greatest day by day rise in new instances, and a high well being official warned that the numbers may practically double by the finish of July. Under the new curbs, persons are suggested to keep house as a lot as attainable, faculties shall be closed, public conferences shall be restricted to two folks after 6 p.m., and rallies banned. Nightclubs and bars shall be shut, whereas eating places and cafes shall be allowed restricted seating and restricted to takeout companies after 10 p.m.

  • Prime Minister Xavier Bettel of Luxembourg, who was hospitalized with Covid-19 about two weeks after attending a European Union summit, left the hospital on Thursday morning “given the improvement of his health condition,” his spokesman mentioned. Mr. Bettel, 48, was admitted on Sunday due to low blood oxygen ranges, a severe concern for Covid-19 sufferers. He acquired his first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine in May and fell sick earlier than July 1, when he was scheduled to get the second. Mr. Bettel will resume his duties on Friday, working in isolation from house, his spokesman mentioned. No different European leaders who attended the summit on June 24 and 25 have proven Covid-19 signs, the E.U. mentioned on Monday.

  • The authorities of France suggested its residents on Thursday not to trip in Spain or Portugal due to latest will increase in coronavirus instances there. Spain is averaging extra new instances a day this week than at any time since February. Portugal lately reintroduced nighttime curfews in a number of cities together with Lisbon, the capital, the place residents are additionally barred from touring to different components of the nation on weekends. Portugal and Spain hoped to revive tourism by reopening their borders to European vacationers in time for the excessive summer season season, solely to be stalled by nations like Britain and now France issuing new journey warnings. Portugal’s overseas minister, Augusto Santo Silva, urged fellow European Union nations on Thursday to collaborate on journey restrictions as an alternative of making use of them unilaterally.

  • The United States, as a part of its pledge to distribute vaccines to nations in want, will ship 500,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to Uruguay and 1.4 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine to Afghanistan, the first of three million doses sure for that nation, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, mentioned on Thursday.

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