Olympics: Athlete tests positive as Tokyo Games opening nears

Tokyo 2020 said six people had tested positive for the virus on July 13 and 14. PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) - An athlete in Japan and five Olympic workers, mostly contractors, have tested positive for the coronavirus, Tokyo 2020 organisers said Thursday (July 15), just over a week before the opening ceremony.

The news came as eight staff at a Japanese hotel hosting Brazil's Olympic judo team tested positive, and a staff member from Russia's rugby sevens team was hospitalised after a positive test.

The cases underscore the challenges ahead for organisers, although they note that only a handful of cases have been detected so far among more than 8,000 people who have entered Japan since July 1.

Tokyo 2020 said six people, including an athlete, several contractors and a Games staffer had tested positive for the virus on July 13 and 14.

They gave no further details on the identity of the six people.

Elsewhere, officials said eight staff at a Japanese hotel hosting Brazil's Olympic judo team had tested positive for Covid-19.

The hotel cluster was found in Hamamastu city, west of Tokyo, during virus screenings carried out before around 30 members of Brazil's judo delegation arrived on Saturday.

None of the infected staff came into contact with the athletes, local health and sports officials said.

A family member of one of the infected hotel workers also tested positive, Hamamatsu officials added.

Separately, a staff member with the Russian rugby sevens team was hospitalised after testing positive, an official in their host town Munakata in western Japan told AFP.

The team of 16 athletes and 10 staff members landed at a Tokyo airport on July 10, and has had no close contact with local officials or residents since then, he said.

The rest of the team is now quarantined in their accommodation, but if they test negative on Thursday, they will be able to resume training as early as Friday, the official added.

The news comes with just over a week until the Games open on July 23 for events mostly behind closed doors, with strict anti-infection measures placed on athletes, officials and journalists.

Kyodo news agency reported Thursday that organisers are considering having fewer than 1,000 VIPs and dignitaries at the opening ceremony in the 68,000-seat National Stadium.

Tokyo is currently under a virus state of emergency, with infections surging. The city recorded 1,149 cases on Wednesday, the highest figure since January.

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