7 Jul 2021

Two workers in Tokyo Olympics village test positive for Covid-19

6:37 pm on 7 July 2021

By ABC North Asia correspondent Jake Sturmer

Olympic organisers say two staff working at the athletes' village have tested positive for Covid--19, with just 16 days until the opening ceremony.

The Olympic Village, where athletes live during the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. The Olympic Village has three areas, "residential zone", "operation zone" and "village plaza," on a site of approximately 44 hectares, and can accommodate up to 18,000 athletes.

The Olympic Village has three areas: residential zone, operation zone and village plaza, on a site of approximately 44 hectares, and can accommodate up to 18,000 athletes. Photo: AFP

The pair tested positive last week and further investigations revealed they had been eating in a group with two other village workers - in violation of the organising committee's own Covid--19 countermeasures.

The other workers have tested negative for the virus.

So far, an athlete and a coach from the Ugandan team, as well as a Serbian athlete have tested positive.

All were picked up at the airport or in separate accommodation outside the village.

The Olympic village is not open to athletes yet and will not be for another week.

Organisers insist it will be safe - assuming everyone follows strict protocols.

It will have a dedicated fever clinic and athletes - in principle - will be tested every day.

The ABC went inside the village last month, as experts warned of worrying issues relating to ventilation.

Organisers said athletes would have to keep their masks on in the indoor fitness room - which has the capacity for 550 athletes - no matter what equipment or how intensely they are training.

Australia's Olympic team is going above and beyond the Covid-19 countermeasures required by Olympic organisers.

Australia's athletes will be told to avoid that space and instead use a dedicated gym they've made inside the AOC headquarters at the village.

Meanwhile, Tokyo's government has pulled the torch relay from public roads as coronavirus cases begin to rebound in the capital.

For the past 17 days, cases have increased week-on-week.

The Tokyo metropolitan government is considering extending a quasi state of emergency for a further month.

The measures that include restrictions on restaurant hours were due to expire on Sunday but with virus cases steadily increasing week on week that seems unlikely - and that has direct consequences for the number of spectators that will be allowed into venues.

Currently the cap is 10,000 or half of a venue's capacity, but it could be lowered to 5,000 or even none at all for some events.

IOC president Thomas Bach is due to arrive in Tokyo on Thursday, with a meeting this week likely to discuss and potentially set a cap for spectators.

Organisers also yesterday announced they would ask the public not to gather to watch the marathon and walking races being held on streets of the northern island of Hokkaido.


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