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Athletes 'probably very worried'- Games chief after athletes' village organiser tests positive for Covid



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Athletes have been dressing their balconies with team banners in Tokyo

London, July 17: The chief of the Tokyo Olympics accepts athletes are "probably very worried" after a Games-related organiser became the first person to test positive for Covid-19 in the athletes' village.

The case, which is now quarantining in a hotel for 14 days, is one of 15 Games-related cases reported on Saturday. The organiser tested negative upon arrival in Japan before returning a positive test in the village screening.

The organisers have previously said the village "must be the safest place". "Athletes who are coming to Japan are probably very worried. I understand that," said Games chief Seiko Hashimoto.

"That is the reason why we need to make full disclosure.

"We are doing everything to prevent any Covid outbreaks. If we end up with an outbreak we will make sure we have a plan in place to respond."

The Games, postponed for a year due to the global pandemic, is being held mostly without spectators and under tight quarantine rules, with Tokyo currently in a state of emergency, until at least 22 August, amid rising Covid-19 numbers.

Athletes, who will be tested daily, are starting to arrive in Tokyo, with the Olympics running from 23 July to 8 August.

 

'We are well aware of the scepticism'

The Japanese public is largely opposed to the Games, with a petition against the event getting more than 450,000 signatures this month.

However, in a news conference on Saturday, IOC president Thomas Bach said he "appealed to the Japanese people to welcome the athletes". "We are well aware of the scepticism a number of people have here in Japan," said Bach.

"We ask and invite the Japanese people, humbly, to welcome and support the athletes from around the world.

"The Japanese can have this confidence [of a safe and secure Games] and we will try to continue this dialogue with them, knowing we will not succeed 100 per cent.

"But we are also confident once the Japanese people see Japanese athletes successfully performing in the Olympic Games then the attitude may become less emotional."