Two athletes tested positive for COVID-19 at the Olympic Village in Tokyo

Two athletes tested positive for COVID-19 at the Olympic Village in Tokyo

Two athletes living in the Olympic Village became the first to test positive for COVID-19 just days before the Tokyo Games started on Friday.
Olympic organizers confirmed the positive tests on Sunday, saying the two athletes were from the same country but were not Japanese, without revealing their names or other details.

The positive tests further fueled concerns about the virus infiltrating the tightly controlled event, particularly the Olympic Village, believed to be a bubble for around 11,000 athletes who traveled to Japan for the games, which were postponed from 2020 to the middle of the pandemic.

Organizers reported 10 new Olympics-related cases on Sunday, including a third athlete who was not staying in the village, up from 15 new cases a day earlier.

South Africa have also reported three positive cases in their football team – two players and an analyst. It was not immediately clear whether these cases had been identified under the same testing program.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, the first member of the International Olympic Committee also tested positive for COVID-19 upon entering a Tokyo airport.

The committee identified the member as Ryu Seung-min of South Korea, who won an Olympic gold medal in table tennis at the 2004 Olympics. He was reportedly held in solitary confinement and was asymptomatic.

” Bad sign “

Organizers say that since July 1, 55 people linked to the Olympics have reported positive tests. However, accounting does not include athletes or others who may have arrived for training camps but are not yet under the “jurisdiction” of the organizing committee.

With the majority of the Japanese public already against hosting the games amid the pandemic, the most recent infections are likely to further disrupt citizens, said Jeff Kingston, director of Asian studies at Temple University in Japan.

“This is a bad sign because thousands of athletes are arriving this week, and there will also be over 50,000 guests linked to the Olympics, just as the Delta variant is swirling around the world and the vaccination here is only by 20%. [of the population]He told Al Jazeera.

“A lot of things can’t be known… and the big question mark about these Olympics is that around 80 percent of Japanese people didn’t think it was a good idea to move forward,” he said. he declared.

Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures will be in a state of emergency when the games open on Friday. Fans, both from Japan and abroad, are excluded from all Olympic events in these regions.

The emergency order lasts until August 22. The games end on August 8.

Tokyo recorded 1,410 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, the highest in six months. It was the 28th day in a row that cases were higher than the previous seven days.


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