Olympics chief Thomas Bach on Thursday said the Tokyo Games’ anti-virus rules “are working” as the Japanese capital recorded its highest number of new infections since January.
With just over a week to go until Tokyo 2020 opens for mostly behind-the-scenes events, organizers insist they can be safely held as long as athletes, officials and journalists stick to the rules. strict anti-virus regulations.
But an athlete in Japan has tested positive for the virus with five Olympic workers, mostly contractors, as Tokyo has recorded 1,308 new cases.
The news came when it emerged that eight staff members at a Japanese hotel hosting the Brazilian Olympic judo team had tested positive and one staff member from the Russian rugby sevens team had been tested positive. hospitalized after a positive test.
Bach said a trip to the Olympic Village on Thursday morning had convinced him the anti-virus rules are “in place, working and being enforced.”
“We have been able to see and convince ourselves that all delegations follow the rules and support the rules, because they know that it is in their own best interests to be safe,” he said in a meeting with the governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike.
“It is in their interest and in solidarity with the people of Tokyo.”
The capital is currently under a viral state of emergency, less strict than a general lockdown, which limits alcohol sales and limits restaurant opening hours. Measurements will continue throughout the Olympics.
Tokyo 2020 said six people, including an athlete, several contractors and a Games staff member, tested positive for the virus on July 13 and 14.
They gave no further details on the identity of the six people.
The cases highlight the challenges ahead for organizers, 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.
Bach said the measures taken to deal with these positive cases mean “the risk to other residents of the Olympic Village and the risk to the Japanese people is zero.”
The group among staff at the hotel west of Tokyo where the Brazilian Olympic judo team is staying was discovered during virus tests carried out before the arrival of around 30 members of their delegation on Saturday.
No 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.
Meanwhile, a staff member of the Russian rugby sevens team was hospitalized after testing positive, an official from their host city, Munakata, in western Japan, told AFP.
The team of 16 athletes and 10 staff landed at an airport in Tokyo on July 10 and had no close contact with local authorities or residents since then, he said.
The rest of the squad are now quarantined in their homes, but if they are negative on Thursday, they will be able to resume training on Friday, the official added.
Kyodo news agency reported on Thursday that organizers are planning to have fewer than 1,000 VIPs and dignitaries at the opening ceremony at the 68,000-seat national stadium.