TOKYO: International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said on Thursday there was “zero” risk of Games participants infecting Japanese residents with COVID-19, as cases hit a six-month high in the host city.
“Risk for the other residents of Olympic village and risk for the Japanese people is zero,” Bach said, adding that Olympics athletes and delegations have undergone more than 8,000 coronavirus tests, resulting in three positive cases. agencies reported.
Those cases have been placed in isolation and their close contacts are also under quarantine protocols, Bach said at the beginning of talks with Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto.
With just over a week until Tokyo 2020 opens for events mostly behind closed doors, organisers insist they can be held safely as long as athletes, officials and journalists adhere to strict anti-virus regulations.
But an athlete in Japan tested positive for the virus along with five Olympic workers, mostly contractors, as Tokyo recorded 1,308 new cases, its highest daily tally since late January.
Bach said a trip to the Olympic Village on Thursday morning had convinced him that anti-virus rules are “in place, and they are working, and they are enforced”.
“We could see and convince ourselves that all the delegations are following the rules and are supporting the rules, because they know it is in their own interest to be safe,” he said. “It’s in their interest and in solidarity with the people of Tokyo.”
The capital is currently under a virus state of emergency, less strict than a blanket lockdown, which limits alcohol sales and curbs restaurant opening hours. The measures will continue throughout the Olympics.
Postponed last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Summer Olympics have little public support in Japan amid widespread fears about a further spread of the coronavirus.–agencies reported.