With just a week to go before the start of the Tokyo Olympics, organizers announced Saturday that the first case of coronavirus (Covid-19) infection had been found in the Olympic Village, but said they believed the drastic measures taken to curb its spread were effective.
“This is the first case recorded in the village and was discovered upon arrival,” Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee (TOCOG) spokesman Takaya Masa said at a news conference July 17. However, he did not specify whether it was an athlete or a staff member, or which delegation the person came from.
The spokesman for the Tokyo Organizing Committee said the “village” was the “Harumi” Olympic Village in Tokyo, according to Kyodo News. The news also said that including the one positive found in the Olympic Village, 15 people related to the Tokyo Olympics have been diagnosed positive since July 1, excluding athletes who arrived in Japan for training before the games.
Of the 15 “positives,” seven were outsourced personnel, six were Olympic-related personnel, and two were media personnel. Eight of them were from overseas, and seven of them were living in Japan. For those who came from overseas, none had been in Japan for more than 14 days.
Thomas Bach, head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), explained that the 15 “positives” were tested on 15,000 athletes, Olympic delegations and journalists who arrived in Japan, a “very low rate” of 0.1 percent.
The Tokyo Olympics, scheduled for July 23 to August 8, had been postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Japan has taken strict health measures to make the global event possible.
“This person was tested positive during a screening in the village and we don’t know if he was vaccinated or not,” said Toshiro Muto, chief executive of the Tokyo Organizing Committee. He tried to be reassuring by explaining that “in the village, there will be strict measures against Covid-19: athletes will be tested every day and if an athlete tests positive, he or she will be quarantined.”
The Tokyo Olympic Village officially opened on July 13. There are 21 accommodation buildings, and about 18,000 athletes and officials will stay during the Olympics. The Olympic organizing committee previously said it would prevent the expansion of the outbreak by isolating occupants from outside contact through strict testing and movement restrictions.