With the discovery of three positive cases for Covid-19 within “the same team” in the Olympic village, the Tokyo Games are faced on Sunday with the management of a first source of contamination.
Five days before the opening of the Olympics (23 July-8 August), the organizers detected two infected athletes in the village, after announcing the very first positive case – of a member of the management – in this huge emblematic residence of the Games. However, these three contaminations concern “the same country and the same sport», Revealed Sunday a spokesperson of the organizing committee during a press conference, without further details on the concerned delegation.
The two positive athletes and their companion were therefore “isolated in their room and Tokyo-2020 brings them their meals“, Continued the same source, while their”close contacts have been identified“. These “contacts“Immediately underwent nasopharyngeal tests, in addition to the daily saliva control of the participants in the Games, they will have to”eat in their room, train separately and take separate transport», Explained Pierre Ducrey, deputy director of the Olympic Games within the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The duration of these precautionary measures, which affect group life as well as the preparation for the competition, will depend on the verdict of “control center»Anti-Covid in the Olympic village. “It is only when the experts determine that you are no longer a risk to others that you can join your team.», Detailed Pierre Ducrey.
These are not the first cases of Covid-19 linked to the Games, since the IOC on Sunday identified 55 positive tests among the 30,000 carried out on 18,000 athletes, supervisors, officials or journalists who arrived in Japan since July 1. The IOC has also confirmed that one of its members, the South Korean Seung Min Ryu, had tested positive on his arrival in the archipelago. Tuesday and Wednesday, the 102 members of the body must meet in a palace in the Japanese capital for their general assembly.
But the first outbreak in the Olympic village illustrates the fear of cascading contaminations in this place without equivalent in the sporting world, putting to the test the anti-Covid measures prepared for months.
“It is inevitable that we have cases”, Recognized Sunday Christophe Dubi, Director of the Games within the IOC, aware of the fears of a part of the Japanese population vis-a-vis this planetary meeting.
Peak of 6,000 people
However, he assured that “everything was in place to limit the mixing of populations“And”maintain the risk“Chain contaminations”to an absolute minimum“.
Positive cases linked to the Games remain very marginal for the time being, underlined Saturday the IOC boss Thomas Bach, who has been promising for months of the Olympics “sure”For the participants as well as for the Japanese population.
Since the spring, the IOC had concentrated its efforts on the vaccination of the delegations, reaching an agreement in May with the laboratories Pfizer and BioNTech before setting up in June of “vaccinodromes»Olympic Games in Qatar and Rwanda.
The body now emphasizes the intensive screening of participants in the Games, the limitation of contacts and the immediate isolation of positive cases. “It’s probably the most controlled population in the world right now», Insisted Pierre Ducrey.
Moreover, while the Olympic Village was designed for 17,000 people, only “6,000“At most should reside there at the same time, during the peak expected in the middle of the Games, calculated Saturday Christophe Dubi.
Almost all of the Olympic events will take place behind closed doors and the tens of thousands of participants – from athletes to officials, including journalists from abroad – are subject to draconian restrictions due to health risks.