Tokyo Olympics: Situation worsens amid raging COVID-19 pandemic as cases rise to 67

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Jul 21, 2021, 02:17 PM(IST)

Tokyo Olympics (Representative image). Photograph:( AFP )

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A total of 67 cases have been detected among those certified for the Games since most competitors and authorities started showing up on July 1, authorities said on Tuesday. The top official of the Tokyo organising body didn't rule out dropping the event completely if cases started to spike. 

Coronavirus cases among Olympic contenders and their support staff are on the rise and around 15% of those are unvaccinated. This is leading to admonitions from medical experts about potential far-reaching consequences. 

Set to start officially on Friday with the opening ceremony, the Tokyo Olympic games were promoted as safe from any danger by organisers.

However, they have so far been tormented by Covid infections among competitors, hotel workers, and others associated with the event and many of those partaking have not been vaccinated. 

A total of 67 cases have been detected among those certified for the Games since most competitors and authorities started showing up on July 1, authorities said on Tuesday. The top Tokyo Games official didn't rule out dropping the event completely if cases spike. 

"You're now introducing risk factors from elsewhere," Dr. Nitin Mohan, a public health consultant, revealed to CBC News.

"Somewhere there will be a breaking point."

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A coach with Uganda's crew tested positive on landing in Narita air terminal and isolated at a facility. The remainder of the group headed by transport for their host city, Izumisano, close to Osaka in western Japan. 

Seven staff at a hotel in Hamamatsu, focal Japan, where many Brazilian competitors are remaining, tested positive, a city official said. 

Eight competitors from the Kenya women's rugby crew are named close contacts after a positive Covid case is found on their trip to Tokyo, said an official with the southwestern city of Kurume.

Australian tennis player Alex de Minaur tested positive for COVID-19 before his takeoff for Tokyo, the Australian Olympic Committee said.

An individual from the Nigerian Olympics contingent is in a medical clinic subsequent to testing positive at Narita air terminal, as per media reports.

Below are the other main cases. 

JULY 17 - Fifteen people test positive for the virus, the organisers say, including the first case at the athletes' village - a visitor from abroad involved in organising the Games. The rest are two members of the media, seven contractors, and five members of the Games personnel.

JULY 18 - Ten people, including two South African male soccer players staying at the athletes' village, tested positive for the virus, organizers say. This is the first time athletes have been found positive within the village. The others are one athlete under a 14-day quarantine period, one member of the media, one contractor, and five Games personnel.

JULY 19 - Three people - one member of the Games personnel, one member of the media, and one contractor - tested positive for the virus. Twenty-one people in the South African soccer delegation are categorised as close contacts, following positive test results for two soccer players from that country. The number of close contacts is later revised down to 18.

Those identified as close contacts can still take part in the competition if they are found negative in a test conducted within six hours of the start of their event.

An alternate on the U.S. women's gymnastics team tests positive and another alternate is close contact, USA Gymnastics said. They remain at the team's training camp just east of Tokyo.

JULY 20 - Nine people, including one athlete staying at the Olympic village, tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The other eight were a volunteer worker, a member of the Games personnel, and six contractors, according to Reuters.

Four competitors have tested positive up until this point — out of the 11,000 contenders expected to remain in the Olympic town. 

In one case, the initial six individuals from Brazil's judo crew who had arrived in Tokyo were isolated after COVID-19 cases were found among the staff at an inn in Hamamatsu, southwest of Tokyo.

"Tokyo is undergoing a surge, and to bring in people from all over, with all the different challenges they have, into a country and a city that's already having its own challenges that's definitely not a public health move. Still, if the Games can maintain fairly high restrictions, the event should be able to avoid becoming a "total disaster," said Dr. Andrew Morris.

A few cases among members are not out of the ordinary, Morris said, however, the possibility of the Olympics fuelling a mass-transmission is improbable. 

"If there is, it's going to be breaches of protocol in the Athletes' Village,"  he added.

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