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Host towns’ subsidy will cover costs of managing coronavirus

TOKYO >> The government will handle costs of managing the coronavirus for municipalities that host international athlete training camps prior to next summer’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

The subsidies will cover costs for virus testing and exclusive use of training facilities. About $125.5 million will be allocated.

The host town program, the first of its kind in Olympic history, is designed to build enthusiasm nationwide for the Tokyo Games. It takes international athletes into communities where they can meet and engage with local citizens.

A total of 510 local governments have agreed to accept athletes representing 181 countries and regions. But concerns have been raised about the growing expenses of managing the virus, and the central government has responded with additional funding.

Tests for athletes are expected to be administered about four times — about once in every four days — during training camps, and once or twice during interactions with local residents after the Games.

The government will also cover the expense of testing residents and hiring health care workers needed to administer the tests.

The central government’s safety protocol and funding extends to securing special lodging for athletes, which will isolate them from other guests, and a plan to keep athletes segregated on planes and trains.

To prevent local health care systems from being overburdened, it will also assist local governments with beefing up public health centers and paying for the costs of nurses.

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