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First COVID case found at Tokyo Olympics athletes’ village

Tokyo: Olympics organisers said on Saturday a person has tested positive for COVID-19 at the athletes’ village, the first case at a site where most competitors will be staying, raising new doubts over promises of a “safe and secure” Games.

The organisers confirmed that a visitor from abroad who is involved in organising the Games had tested positive during a routine test on Friday. The person’s nationality was not revealed due to privacy concerns.

The athlete’s village for the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, in Tokyo.

The athlete’s village for the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, in Tokyo. Credit:AP

The 2020 Games, postponed for a year due to the global pandemic, is being held mostly without spectators and under tight quarantine rules.

Japan’s public has been lukewarm about the Games amid a resurgence in new coronavirus infections and worries that an influx of visitors may create a super-spreader event, straining an already-stretched medical system. Only around 20 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated.

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto acknowledged the public’s concerns.

“I understand that there are still many worrying factors. Organisers must try to make sure that people will understand that these games are safe and secure,” she told a news conference on Saturday.

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto speaks during a meeting between Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach in Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto speaks during a meeting between Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach in Tokyo, Japan.Credit:AP

So far, more than 40 people involved in the Games, including both domestic and foreign nationals, have tested positive. The latest case is the first at the 44-hectare athletes’ village on Tokyo’s waterfront, which is where a majority of the 11,000 competitors will be staying.

Athletes are just starting to arrive for the Games which run July 23 through August 8.

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