Indian athletes told to wear long-sleeved clothes over Zika fears in Rio

  • AFP, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 29, 2016 16:57 IST
A giant banner advertising the 2016 Rio Olympics is pictured outside a tunnel which connects Botafogo and Copacabana neighbourhoods in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Reuters Photo)

Indian Olympians have been warned to cover up at all times in Rio to minimise bites from mosquitoes feared to carry the Zika virus, a senior official said on Wednesday.

Brazil has been the epicentre of the outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease, which is blamed for birth defects in babies born to women infected with the virus.

World number one golfer Jason Day and several other players have withdrawn from the Games starting in August because of fears over the virus.

India’s more than 100 athletes, its biggest ever Olympic squad, have not raised any concerns about the virus, said Indian Olympic Association chef de mission Rakesh Gupta.

But they have been advised to wear long-sleeve shirts and tracksuit bottoms as much as possible and use insect repellant, Gupta told reporters.

“There are full sleeve T-shirts in the kit that will be provided to the players, who will be advised to wear covered clothing during their stay,” he said.

“There has been an advisory given by the IOC (International Olympic Committee) in which they have mentioned that we have to use a repellent with certain contents.”

The threat of the virus has been cited as the reason for withdrawal by a number of golfers, as the sport returns to the Olympics for the first time since 1904.

But the World Health Organization’s emergency committee on the disease has said there is a “very low risk” of the Zika virus spreading further internationally as a result of the Olympic Games in Brazil.

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