Thursday, January 6 2022

Organizers reported 10 new cases related to Olympic Games including media, contractors and other staff, up from 15 on Saturday.

A member of South Korea’s International Olympic Committee tested positive for coronavirus upon landing in Tokyo. Ryu Seung-min, a former Olympic athlete, is vaccinated, reflecting the risk of infection even among vaccinated participants.

Infection rates are climbing among the general population of the capital, exceeding 1,000 new cases for four consecutive days. Polls show that many Japanese are opposed to holding the Games with the influx of foreign visitors it implies.

Tokyo officials, including Seiko Hashimoto, the chair of the organizing committee, confirmed the case and said the positive test took place on Friday. Organizers say for privacy reasons they can only offer a vague description and few details.

“In the current situation, for positive cases to arise is something we have to assume possible,” said Toshiro Muto, CEO of the Tokyo Organizing Committee.

The person is simply identified as “Gaming personnel”. The person is also listed as a non-resident of Japan. Tokyo officials said the person has been placed in a 14-day quarantine.

The Tokyo Bay Olympic Village will be home to approximately 11,000 athletes during the Olympic Games and thousands of other staff.

IOC President Thomas Bach said this week that there was no risk of athletes in the village spreading the virus to Japanese or other village residents.

Organizers say that since July 1 and Saturday, 45 people under their “jurisdiction” have tested positive. Only one involves someone from the village and most are identified as “contractors” for Tokyo 2020 and “staff involved in the games”. The list includes an athlete – who tested positive on July 14 – and three members of the media.

Of the 45, only 12 are listed as “non-residents of Japan”.

Organizers say athletes and staff who were absent from Tokyo during training camps are excluded from this list and from their accounts.

Tokyo officials said they could not give an estimate of the number of people in the village on Saturday.

New cases of COVID-19 were reported at 1,410 on Saturday. They were 950 a week ago, and this marks the 28th day in a row that cases were higher than a week earlier. It was the highest day since 1,485 on January 21.

The IOC President, Thomas Bach, as he has been doing all week in Tokyo, once again asked the Japanese to support the Olympics. Opinion polls, depending on how the question is asked, show that 50-80% want the Olympics to be postponed or canceled again.

“We are very aware of the skepticism, obviously a number of people have here in Japan,” Bach said on Saturday during his first major Olympics briefing at the main press center in Tokyo. “My appeal to the Japanese people is to welcome these athletes.”

Bach has been asked at least twice about the lack of support, both times by Japanese journalists.

“Even in Japan, there has never been 100% support for the Olympics or any other event. It’s part of democracy, ”he said. “You will always have different opinions and, for such a discussion to become livelier and more emotional in a pandemic situation, is something we need to understand. A lot of people feel stressed.

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