TOPLINE Three foreign athletes residing in the Olympic village and 16 other people linked to the Tokyo Olympics have tested positive for Covid-19, the games’ organizers announced on Friday, marking a record daily rise in cases tied to the event just hours before the opening ceremony is scheduled to kick off.
According to the organizing committee, the three infected athletes include two from the Czech Republic and one from the Netherlands, who are now undergoing a 14-day period of isolation, Kyodo News reported.
It’s unclear how many athletes have been identified as close contacts to the three positive cases, but they will not be required to enter isolation and will be allowed to compete if they test negative within six hours of the start of their events.
The 16 other people who tested positive include three contractors and three members of the media, the organizers said without offering additional details.
A total of 106 Covid-19 cases linked to the Olympics have been recorded since July 1, when the organizers started offering daily updates.
1,979. That’s the total number of Covid-19 cases reported in Tokyo on Thursday, the highest daily count since mid-January. After flattening out last month, cases in Tokyo began to rise in July, forcing the Japanese government to impose a state of emergency in the national capital.
The steady rise in the number of cases linked to the Olympics has raised questions about the adequacy of the safety measures put in place for the mega event. Experts have warned that the Olympic’s Covid-19 bubble has already been breached and it could lead to a larger outbreak that may spill into the Japanese population. Visiting athletes participating in the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics are expected to follow a stringent set of pandemic-related rules which were unveiled last month. Under the rules, all participating athletes and officials will be screened for the virus daily and are required to provide saliva samples at set times. Athletes, who can only stay in officially approved accommodations, will have their movements restricted and will be subject to GPS tracking by officials.
By Siladitya Ray, Forbes Staff