Japan has confirmed that a foreign national at the Tokyo Olympics athletes' village has tested positive for Covid-19, throwing preparations into the much-delayed Games into disarray once again.
"There was one person in the Village. That was the very first case in the Village that was reported during the screening test," a spokesman for the Tokyo organizing committee said at a news conference.
Non-athlete in the 60s
According to Japanese broadcaster TV Asahi, the person infected with coronavirus is a Nigerian Olympic delegate. The individual, whose name is not revealed, is a nonathlete in their 60s, the TV channel said.
Earlier, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto had declined to reveal the nationality of the individual, citing privacy concerns.
The Nigerian official was diagnosed with Covid-19 on Thursday evening at the airport, the Japan Times reported, The person had mild symptoms, and was hospitalized as they had pre-existing health conditions, while the age factor was also considered.
Japanese Public Divided
The Tokyo Olympic Games are slated to start on July 23 after it was postponed from last year. The holding of Olympics had vertically divided the Japanese society, with many feeling that the sports event must be cancelled due to the health crisis.
The Japanese authorities pressed ahead with the Games, promising all safety measures to prevent an outbreak at the Village. However, even as Japan is reporting a surge in cases in the run-up tp the Games, the latest report of the positive case in the Games Village adds to the concerns.
Tokyo reported a six-month high of infections earlier this week despite tough measures to rein in the spread. Tokyo reported 1,308 new cases on Thursday and as many as 1,271 cases on Friday.
Shigeru Omi, Japan's top medical adviser, meanwhile said there was no hope that the number of daily infections would drop before the Games start.
Most of the events will be held with no spectators in attendance, but Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike expressed hope that he hoped children could be allowed to witness some games. However, that call will be made depending on the daily infection numbers closer to the date.
The Games organizers have made extensive testing a pre-requisite, while mandating a strict no-contact for the athletes with the rest of public.
Though Japan was largely spared the worst consequences from the pandemic and fared much better than many countries around the world, its vaccination program has been less than impressive.