Updated Jul 18, 2021 - Health

More Olympic athletes test positive for COVID in Tokyo

 A police officer walks past Olympic rings at the entrance to Olympic Village in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday.

A police officer walks past the Olympic Village in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Olympic Games organizers confirmed Sunday three athletes have tested positive for COVID-19 in Tokyo — five days before the event is due to begin, per Reuters.

Driving the news: Two of the athletes, all of whom were listed as "non-Japanese," were staying in the Olympic Village, AP notes. The other was outside the village.

  • "Organisers reported 10 new cases connected to the Olympics including media, contractors and other personnel, down from 15 reported on Saturday," Reuters reports.

Of note: Officials on Saturday confirmed the first Olympic Village resident to test positive for the virus was a person identified as "games-concerned personnel," per AP.

  • Among those to test positive was Ryu Seung-min, an International Olympic Committee member and former Olympic athlete from South Korea, who'd been fully vaccinated against the virus —"reflecting the infection risk even from vaccinated attendees," Reuters notes. He was placed in a 14-day quarantine.

The big picture: People in Japan have been protesting the Games amid the latest uptick in positive cases ahead of opening day July 23.

  • Infectious disease experts say the Olympics don't have strong enough protocols for testing or ventilation, either in competition venues or in the Olympic village, Axios' Tina Reed writes.
  • Health experts fear the Olympics could become a superspreader event.

By the numbers via AP: "New COVID-19 cases on Saturday were reported at 1,410. They were 950 one week ago, and it marks the 28th straight day that cases were higher than a week previous. It was the highest single day since 1,485 on Jan. 21."

What they're saying: International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said Thursday that risk "for the other residents of Olympic village and risk for the Japanese people is zero," Reuters reports.

  • "We are very well aware of the skepticism, obviously that a number of people have here in Japan," Bach said Saturday in his first large briefing of the Olympics at the main press center in Tokyo. "My appeal to the Japanese people is to welcome these athletes."
  • IOC Olympic Games executive director Christophe Dubi said in a statement Sunday that organizers could "safely say" that some 40,000 coronavirus tests had been carried out before roughly 18,000 Games participants had arrived in Japan.
  • "Then there is the screening on the airport followed by regular screening testing, for athletes every day," he added.

Zoom out: The Olympic Village on Tokyo Bay will house 11,000 athletes during the Games, along with thousands of staff members.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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