Two athletes test positive for Covid-19 in Olympic Village

·4-min read
The Tokyo Games have been rocked by a number of Covid-19 cases less than one week before the global showpiece gets underway. Pic: Getty
The Tokyo Games have been rocked by a number of Covid-19 cases less than one week before the global showpiece gets underway. Pic: Getty

Two athletes have become the first to test positive for the coronavirus in the Tokyo Olympic Village, in the latest Covid-19 incident to rock the Games, less than one week before they're set to get underway.

The worrying situation comes one day after an unidentified person, who is not a competitor, became the first case in the Village.

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The cases will heighten concerns over the Olympics, which are facing opposition in Japan over fears they will bring new cases to a country already battling a surge in infections.

The Tokyo Olympics, which will be held largely behind closed doors to prevent infections, are unpopular in Japan where opinion polls have consistently demonstrated a lack of support.

The Olympic Village, a complex of apartments and dining areas, will house 6,700 athletes and officials at its peak when the 2020 Games, delayed last year over the pandemic, finally get underway.

On Saturday, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach appealed for Japanese fans to get behind the Games, saying he was “very well aware of the scepticism” surrounding the event.

However, with three cases now linked to the Olympic Village and 15 Games-related cases revealed in Tokyo on Saturday, fears are growing for organisers of the global showpiece.

Japanese media said the first infected person came from abroad.

“That was the very first case in the Village that was reported during the screening test,” Masa Takaya, spokesman for the Tokyo organising committee, told reporters.

“Right now this person is confined to a hotel,” he added.

Two days ago, Aussie tennis star Alex de Minaur had to pull out of the Games after testing positive to coronavirus.

Alex de Minaur (pictured) has withdrawn from the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for Covid-19. (Getty Images)
Alex de Minaur (pictured) has withdrawn from the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for Covid-19. (Getty Images)

The Australian athletics team was also at the centre of a Covid-19 scare after a staff member's inconclusive COVID-19 test in Cairns.

The Aussie athletics team was put into lockdown for several hours over the weekend because of the situation, however, tests later on Sunday are expected to confirm the person is not infected and the team's Tokyo preparations will go ahead as planned.

Covid scare hits Aussie athletics team

Australian Olympic team chef de mission Ian Chesterman revealed on Sunday that the person had tested negative in Melbourne before travelling on Thursday to join the athletics team at its Cairns training camp.

A further test in Cairns produced the inconclusive result, prompting all members of the athletics team to be confined to their rooms for several hours until Saturday evening.

A track meeting planned for Sunday is now going ahead.

"The subsequent inconclusive test on entering the athletics camp triggered two further, more extensive tests to confirm the staff member's negative status," Chesterman said.

"Athletics Australia has been working closely with Queensland Health and the staff member has been placed in quarantine, pending a final confirmation of their negative status expected later today."

Australian stars are seen here at the airport in Tokyo after arriving to compete in the Olympic Games. Pic: Getty
Australian stars are seen here at the airport in Tokyo after arriving to compete in the Olympic Games. Pic: Getty

Australian Olympic team doctor David Hughes said the athletics team applied an abundance of caution once the inconclusive test result became known.

"They just took the approach (that) they put everyone in their rooms ... is my understanding," Dr Hughes said.

"The whole athletics team went into their room and stayed from when it was detected ... midday yesterday, until last night.

"They've been informed it's now okay for them to proceed with their activities today in the track meet."

Chesterman also said the staff member had not visited any identified exposure sites in Melbourne before flying to Cairns and had followed all appropriate procedures.

The first group from the Cairns athletics camp will fly to Tokyo on July 26.

The bulk of the Australian athletics team is at a pre-departure training camp in Cairns, with other members of the squad in Europe and Sydney.

with agencies

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