The first case of coronavirus was reported in the athletes’ village at the Tokyo Olympics, raising doubts about the “safety and security” of the Games.
Organizers confirmed that a visitor from abroad who was working for the Olympics tested positive in a routine check on Friday. The person’s nationality was not disclosed due to privacy concerns.
There were another 14 new cases linked to the games starting next week, according to Reuters.
Other cases included two members of the media, seven contractors and five gamers.
The situation at Athletes’ Village, a 44-hectare site built on Tokyo’s waterfront, is particularly worrying because the majority of the 11,000 competitors will remain there.
Originally intended to showcase Japan’s recovery from the 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster, the Tokyo Olympics have become a damage reduction exercise.
It has been postponed for a year due to the global pandemic, and is being held mostly without spectators and under strict quarantine rules. Most athletes start arriving for the games, which run from July 23 through August 8.
The Japanese public has been concerned about hosting the games amid a resurgence of new coronavirus infections and fears that the influx of visitors could lead to a highly widespread event, straining an already overburdened medical system.
Only about 20% of the population is fully vaccinated.
Although Japan has escaped explosive disease outbreaks in other countries, it has more than 820,000 cases and nearly 15,000 deaths. The number of new cases in host city Tokyo, which is in its fourth state of emergency due to the virus, has exceeded 1,000 for four consecutive days.
Tokyo 2020 president, Seiko Hashimoto, Acknowledge the public’s concerns.
She said at a press conference on Saturday:
I understand that there are still many worrying factors. Organizers should try to ensure that people will understand that these games are safe and secure.
So far, more than 40 people participating in the games, including Japanese and foreigners, have tested positive.
Toshiro MutoThe head of the organizing committee for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics said, on Saturday, that officials are working on the assumption that there will be positive cases of Covid-19.
A key part of infection control measures is daily saliva testing of participating athletes, as well as frequent testing of others participating in the event. It is also planned to monitor and restrict the movements of visitors.