Three more Tokyo Games athletes test positive to COVID-19

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Tokyo reported 1 359 COVID-19 cases on Friday, part of a wave of infection in the capital as the Olympic Games kick-off.

Tokyo reported 1 979 cases on Thursday, the highest level since January.

Olympics organisers said on Friday that three more competitors at the Tokyo Games, including one resident of the athletes’ village, had tested positive for COVID-19.

Olympics-related cases rose by 19, organisers said, bringing the total number of disclosed cases to 106.

The chief of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee on Tuesday did not rule out cancelling the Olympics if COVID-19 cases spiked, as more athletes tested positive for the virus and sponsors ditched plans to attend Friday’s opening ceremony.  

Rising COVID-19 cases in Tokyo have cast a large shadow over an event that was already postponed last year because of the pandemic. It will now take place without spectators to minimise health risks. In the latest development, only about 950 people, including officials and journalists, will attend Friday’s opening ceremony at the main stadium. In addition to that group would-be performers and athletes participating in the Games.  

According to Hidemasa Nakamura of the main operation centre, all COVID-19 protocols will be observed during the ceremony. 

“Yes – 950 people will be attending as stakeholders and athletes are allowed to participate. We are taking countermeasures. The athletes have to comply with the rule book. So, a minimum of one meter and possibly two meters of social distancing is required, and they have to wear masks all the time. That’s the rule. So, even if it’s the opening ceremony since the event is held at the stadium, we’ll be taking thorough measures against COVID-19.”

Despite all the challenges, national teams were seen settling in to the village on Thursday, with their national flags hanging from their balconies.