The Tokyo Olympics has registered its first coronavirus case at the athletes’ village, underscoring infection risks less than a week before the opening ceremony.
A foreign personnel member tested positive for COVID-19 and is in quarantine, a document from organizers showed on Saturday. The person isn’t an athlete.
So far there have been 45 positive cases tied to the Tokyo Games, but this is the first to come from within the Olympic Village, which opened its doors to athletes earlier this week. The infections highlight the challenge for organizers who have pledged to provide a safe and secure Olympics during the pandemic.
How the Tokyo Olympics might become a superspreader event International Olympics Committee President Thomas Bach said this week that very strict anti-COVID measures in “Playbooks for athletes and officials “are enforced and they are working.
The games, which start July 23, will be the first to be held without spectators. Tokyo is grappling with a surge in coronavirus cases which prompted the government to declare a fourth state of emergency in the capital earlier this month. The city reported 1,410 new infections on Saturday, the most since Jan. 21.
Cases are rising in prefectures surrounding Tokyo as well, prompting authorities to expand a coronavirus advisory limiting restaurant openings and alcohol sales. Kanagawa’s local government declared its own state of emergency on Friday.
The Olympics Playbook for athletes requires them to wear masks, keep their distance from others and avoid using public transport. They also face regular COVID-19 testing. Organizers estimate about 85 percent of residents at the village will have been vaccinated against the virus.
Many Japanese oppose holding the Olympics out of fear it could become a superspreader event in a country that trails its Group of Seven peers in vaccinations. About 20 percent of the population has been fully inoculated, according to Bloomberg’s COVID-19 vaccine tracker.