Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games organisers have announced that two more athletes residing in the athletes’ village tested positive for COVID-19. The organisers announced 12 new positive cases overall, including the two athletes, bringing the total number of positive cases to 87.  

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 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 into the village on Thursday, with their national flags hanging from their balconies.