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First COVID-19 case confirmed at Tokyo Olympic Village

July 16, 2021; Tokyo, JAPAN;  General view of the Olympic rings seen in Tokyo Bay before the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
July 16, 2021; Tokyo, JAPAN; General view of the Olympic rings seen in Tokyo Bay before the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

An unidentified person tested positive for COVID-19 in the Tokyo Olympics athletes’ village on Friday, according to multiple reports.

At a news conference Saturday, Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto said that the infected person was not an athlete but is someone who is involved in organizing the games.

“I understand that there are still many worrying factors,” Hashimoto said. “Organizers must try to make sure that people will understand that these games are safe and secure. We are sparing no efforts.”

The unidentified individual is now one of 44 people affiliated with the Olympics who have tested positive for the virus this month, according to a list kept by organizers. It is the first case reported in the athletes’ village.

The opening ceremony for the 2020 Tokyo Games, which were postponed last year due to the coronavirus, remains on schedule for Friday.

The pageantry of the opening ceremony comes amid the stark reality of the virus in Japan’s capital city. On Thursday, Tokyo reported 1,308 new COVID-19 infections, the most since Jan. 21. It was the second straight day the number exceeded 1,000.

Because of the outbreak, nearly every event at the Games will be held without spectators.

Tokyo is operating under a state of emergency through Aug. 22 that took effect on Monday — its fourth since the coronavirus pandemic began in March 2020. The Games will go on despite residents’ opposition and doctors’ warnings that hospitals could be flooded with COVID-19 patients.

The country has been slow to vaccinate its residents, with just 20.41 percent fully vaccinated, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. By contrast, the United States and Canada are just below 50 percent.

–Field Level Media