Olympic cluster scare as athletes contact COVID-19 in Games Village

three cases "were from the same country and sport"

(AP): Two athletes living in the Olympic Village have tested positive for COVID-19, organizers confirmed today (Sunday), raising fears of a cluster just days before the opening ceremony.

The first cases involving athletes in the Village come a day after a member of their entourage returned the first positive test in the complex, which will house thousands of athletes. 

Tokyo 2020 spokesman Masa Takaya said the three cases “were from the same country and sport”. They are “isolated in their rooms and Tokyo 2020 is delivering meals to them”, he said, adding that the rest of the team have also been tested. The team was not identified.

Outside the Olympic Village a third athlete tested positive today. The names and nationalities of the positive cases were not made known. Also on Sunday, the first International Olympic Committee (IOC) member was reported as positive. He recorded a positive test while entering a Tokyo airport.

In total, organisers on Sunday reported 10 new cases connected to the Olympics including media, contractors and other personnel. That compares with 15 new cases on Saturday.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics will begin on Friday — but concern is growing over the danger of COVID-19 spreading, with 55 confirmed cases now linked to the Games, including officials and contractors.

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

The Japanese public, as well as many international observers, have voiced alarm over the Games going forward as Japan struggles to rein in its latest coronavirus outbreak.

The country saw a huge second wave in the spring, peaking in April and May with close to 6,000 new cases per day. Cases began falling in June but have risen in recent weeks, sparking fears the arrival of teams from more than 200 countries could turn the Games into a global superspreader event.

As of Friday, more than 15,000 Olympic individuals had entered Japan, according to Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The Olympic Village, containing 21 residential buildings, will house about 11,000 athletes.

Organizers announced this month that the Tokyo venues will not have spectators due to the city’s coronavirus state of emergency — an unprecedented move, according to an IOC spokesman.