Tokyo Olympics chief admits athletes are “probably very worried” after a Games-related organizer became the first person to test positive for Covid-19 in Athletes’ Village.
The case, which is now in hotel quarantine for 14 days, is one of 15 Games-related cases reported on Saturday.
The organizer tested negative on his arrival in Japan before returning a positive test when screening the village.
The organizers previously declared the village “must be the safest place“.
“The athletes who come to Japan are probably very worried. I understand that,” said Games Director Seiko Hashimoto.
“This is the reason why we have to make full disclosure.
“We are doing everything to prevent any outbreak of Covid. If we do end up with an outbreak, we will make sure we have a plan in place to respond to it.”
The Games, postponed for a year due to the global pandemic, are being held mostly without spectators and under strict quarantine rules, with Tokyo currently under a state of emergency, until at least August 22, in a context of an increase in the number of Covid-19.
The athletes, who will be checked daily, start arriving in Tokyo, with the Olympics taking place from July 23 to August 8.
“We are well aware of the skepticism”
The Japanese public is widely opposed to the Games, with a petition against the event garnering more than 450,000 signatures this month.
However, at a press conference on Saturday, IOC President Thomas Bach said he “called on the Japanese people to welcome the athletes”.
“We are well aware of the skepticism of a number of people here in Japan,” Bach said.
“We ask and invite the Japanese people, humbly, to welcome and support athletes 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 that we will not succeed 100%.
“But we are also convinced that once the Japanese see Japanese athletes succeed at the Olympics, the attitude may become less emotional.”