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Tokyo Olympics Hit by Fifty-Eight Covid Cases, Including US Gymnast

Tokyo Olympics Covid
The Olympic Stadium in Tokyo. Credit: Arne Müseler, CC BY-SA 3.0 de/Wikipedia Commons

A total of 58 individuals in Japan for the Tokyo Olympics have now tested positive for the coronavirus, with an unnamed female gymnast from the US joining South African footballers in showing a positive test result just five days before the Games begin.

Inzai city official Takamitsu Ooura reported the gymnast’s test result to CNN on Monday morning, adding that the teenager is staying in Inzai City in the Chiba Prefecture, Japan, as she takes part in a pre-camp before the Friday opening of the Tokyo Games.

The young woman tested positive for the virus on Sunday, receiving a confirmation of the result on Monday.

CNN reports that she is currently not experiencing any symptoms but of course is being quarantined in her hotel room as she awaits further instructions.

According to reports, one other gymnast has been identified as a close contact of the young woman who tested positive.

As of Monday, there are a total of 58 Covid-19 cases linked to the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Two athletes due to take part in the Summer Olympics tested positive for Covid-19 in the Olympic Village after a team colleague was also infected, officials said on Sunday, raising fears of a cluster just days before the opening ceremony.

The infected were two South African footballers who became the first athletes in the Olympic Village to test positive, along with a South African official.

The infections were revealed as competitors continue to fly in from around the world for the pandemic-delayed Olympics, which are facing significant opposition in Japan due to their Covid risks.

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 by Takaya.

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.

Olympic officials have been at great pains to play down the health risks of the Games, which are taking place in stringent anti-coronavirus conditions with athletes tested every single day.

“Mingling and crossing of populations is very limited. We keep the risk to an absolute minimum level,” Olympic Games executive director Christophe Dubi said on Sunday.

“We can ensure that transmission between the various groups is almost impossible.”

In addition, six athletes and two staff members from the Great Britain athletics squad were forced to self-isolate after coming into close contact with a member of the public who had Covid-19 on their flight to Tokyo.

The news was confirmed by Team GB’s Chef de Mission, Mark England, who said those involved were not to blame for being a close contact of someone who tested positive for Covid after their flight landed in Tokyo on July 16.

“This is disappointing news for the athletes and staff but we absolutely respect the protocols in place,” said England. “We will offer them every support during this period and we are hopeful that they will be able to resume training again soon.”

Tokyo Olympics to be held without spectators due to Covid

Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics have agreed to hold the event without spectators under a Covid-19 state of emergency, Japan’s Olympics Minister Tamayo Marukawa said earlier in July.

It had already been decided that the Games would not welcome international fans.

“Taking into consideration the effect of coronavirus variants and the need to prevent infections from spreading to the rest of the nation again, we need to strengthen our countermeasures,” Suga said. “Given the situation, we will issue a state of emergency for Tokyo.”

The state of emergency in Tokyo will end after the July 23 – August 8 event.

Medical experts in Japan welcomed a decision to hold the Tokyo Olympics without spectators under coronavirus restrictions but cautioned that the ban will not completely eliminate the risk of a rebound in Covid-19 cases.

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