Days before Tokyo Olympics, first Covid-19 cases inside Olympic Village confirmed photo from Insidethegames

Days before Tokyo Olympics, first Covid-19 cases inside Olympic Village confirmed

Jul 19, 2021, 4:11 AM
Nicole Pulido

Nicole Pulido


At least three cases of Covid-19 have been reported inside Tokyo’s Olympic Village, days before the scheduled start of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

The Tokyo 2020 organizing committee reported the first positive case of Covid-19 in the Olympic Village last Sunday (July 18).

Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the organizing committee, said in a news conference that he did not have any information about whether the person had been vaccinated.

Seiko Hashimoto, the committee's president, said organizers are doing everything in their power to ensure that the Olympic Village – like all venues and facilities – is as safe as possible.

It was the South African football team’s manager who confirmed the news.

"We have three positive cases of Covid-19 in the camp here, two players and an official," team manager Mxolisi Sibam said.

South African footballers Thabiso Monyane and Kamohelo Mahlatsi have become the first athletes to test positive for Covid-19 at the Olympic Village.

Monyane and Mahlatsi have not been formally identified by Tokyo 2020, but organizers had confirmed the infected competitors were from the same country and same sport.

The three athletes are among the 10 new Covid-19 cases in Japan announced today that are linked to the Games since July 1, bringing the total in that period to 55.

The athlete who tested positive at the airport has been isolated in a dedicated medical facility, Tokyo 2020 said.

Five of the other cases have come from "Games-connected personnel", defined by Tokyo 2020 as "those affiliated with the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee, NOCs, NPCs, International Federations, members of the Olympic and Paralympic Family, partners, Olympic Broadcasting Services members, etc.”

IOC President Thomas Bach has said there is "zero risk" of participants at the Games spreading the virus to the Japanese public because of the measures in place at the event. (See also: Perennial threat looms; no guarantee Tokyo Olympics will be ‘coronavirus- free’ )

But health experts have warned the Games could become a "super-spreader" event, while Shigeru Omi, the Japanese Government’s top Covid-19 advisor, has warned staging the Olympics during a pandemic is "abnormal".

At least five athletes have tested positive for Covid-19 since arriving in Japan for the Games, while the Refugee Olympic Team delayed its travel to Tokyo after one of its delegation also returned a positive test.

Teams from several other nations have been forced into isolation due to Covid-19 issues, raising concerns over the impact of the virus on athletes who are set to compete at the Games.

Britain is among them, with six members of the athletics team and two staff members forced into self-isolation after somebody on their flight to Japan tested positive for Covid-19, and they were identified as close contacts.

For the Philippines, our athletes such as Hidilyn Diaz as well as weightlifter Elreen Ando, taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa, rifle shooter Jayson Valdez, and swimmers Luke Gebbie and Remedy Rule arrived in Tokyo yesterday.

The quintet will compete in the Olympics slated from July 23 to August 8, as they followed boxers Eumir Marcial, Carlo Paalam, Nesthy Petecio, and Irish Magno as well as rower Cris Nievarez, who all landed in Tokyo on Saturday.

Diaz arrived in Tokyo from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Ando, Barbosa, and Valdez from Manila, Rule from Texas, United States, and Gebbie from Melbourne, Australia.

Gymnast Carlos Yulo and judoka Kiyomi Watanabe complete the 19-athlete Philippine delegation in the Olympiad, and the two are already in Tokyo as they've been training in Japan for years now. (NP)

Tags: #TokyoOlympics, #OlympicVillage, #Covid19, #sportsbubble

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