First resident of Olympic Village tests positive for COVID
Tokyo — The first resident of the Olympic Village has tested positive for COVID-19, Tokyo Olympic organizers said on Saturday.
Officials said it was not an athlete with the the Games opening in just under a week on July 23.
Tokyo officials including Seiko Hashimoto, the president of the organizing committee, confirmed the case and said the positive test was Friday. Organizers say for confidentiality purposes they can only offer a vague description and few details.
“In the current situation, that positive cases arise is something we must assume is possible,” said Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the Tokyo organizing committee.
The person is identified simply as a “games-concerned personnel.” The person is also listed as a non-resident of Japan. Tokyo officials said the person was placed in a 14-day quarantine.
The Olympic Village on Tokyo Bay will house about 11,000 athletes during the Olympics and thousands of other staff.
IOC President Thomas Bach said this week there was “zero” risk of athletes in the village passing on the virus to Japanese or other resident of the village.
Organizers say since July 1 and as of Saturday, 45 people under their “jurisdiction” have tested positive. Only one involves a person in the village and most are identified as “contractors” for Tokyo 2020 and “games-concerned personnel.” The list includes one athlete – who tested positive on July 14 – and three members of the media.
Of the 45, only 12 are listed as “non-resident of Japan.”
Organizers say that athletes and staff who have been away from Tokyo at training camps are excluded from this list and their accounting.
Tokyo officials said they could not give an estimate of the number of people in the village as of Saturday.
New COVID-19 cases on Saturday were reported at 1,410. They were 950 one week ago, and it marks the 28th straight day that cases were higher than a week previous. It was the highest single day since 1,485 on Jan. 21.
IOC President Thomas Bach, as he has done all week in Tokyo, again asked the Japanese to support the Olympics. Opinion polls, depending how the question is asked, show 50-80% want the Olympics postponed again or canceled.
“We are very well aware of the skepticism, obviously that a number of people have here in Japan,” Bach said Saturday in his first large briefing of the Olympics at the main press center in Tokyo. “My appeal to the Japanese people is to welcome these athletes.”
Bach was asked the question about the absence of support at least twice, both times by Japanese reporters.
“Even in Japan there was never 100% support for the Olympic Games or any other event. This is part of democracy,” he said. “You will always have different opinions and, that such a discussion is becoming more heated and more emotional in the situation of a pandemic, is something we have to understand. Many people feel under stress.”