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New Revelations from World Military Games' Participants Hint at Covid-19 Spread in China in October

French pentathlete Elodie Clouvel (Photo Credit: Reuters)

French pentathlete Elodie Clouvel (Photo Credit: Reuters)

Athletes Elodie Clouvel and Tagliariol claimed they contracted coronavirus in Wuhan in October during the World Military Games while Oliver Gorges said the city was a 'ghost town' then.

Athletes revealing they fell ill at the World Military Games in Wuhan in October is adding to fears that the coronavirus was spreading within China months before the country accepted it to the world.

Amid 10,000 competitors from over a 100 countries, many fell sick and some even tested positive for coronavirus later.

French pentathlete Elodie Clouvel, 31, claimed she and her partner Valentin Belaud, 27, contracted Covid-19 during the games. Furthermore, Italian fencer Tagliariol revealed that everyone in his Wuhan apartment fell ill with "symptoms that looked like those of Covid-19" and it later spread to his son and girlfriend as well.

After these revelations, German volleyball team player Jacqueline Bock said she and her colleagues contracted the virus at the event in October.

"After a few days, some athletes from my team got ill," she told The Mail. "I got sick in the last two days."

She further said that her father also caught the illness a few weeks after her return.

"I have never felt so sick," she said. "Either it was a very bad cold or Covid-19. I think it was Covid-19."

Luxembourg triathlete Oliver Gorges said he got flu-like symptoms and will undergo an antibody test this week to discover if he had the coronavirus.

China's first confirmed case of coronavirus was at the start of December but Gorges claimed that Wuhan's streets were "nearly empty" during the games.

"It was a ghost town," he said. "There were rumours that the government warned the inhabitants not to go out."

Even though China admitted to the spread of the disease to humans in January, many athletes from the World Military Games said there was intense cleaning measures put in place in Wuhan.

Gorges said he had his temperature recorded on arrival at the airport while athletes were made to wash their hands every time they entered the canteen and were ordered not to take food out of the premises.

"It was strange," he added.

On the other hand, Pentathlete Melina Westerberg from Sweden said many of her countrymates got sick during the games but tested negative for the Covid-19.

"It was just a coincidence," she said. "We all felt safe."
first published:May 18, 2020, 14:05 IST