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COVID-19 bubble at Tokyo Olympics already broken, expert warns, as cases surge

Five athletes, three of them staying at the Games village, have tested positive

tokyo-games-2020-stadium-ap A security guard wearing face masks guards outside the National Stadium in Tokyo, Thursday, July 8, 2021 | AP

With more cases of coronavirus reported in Tokyo ahead of the Olympics, experts have warned that the bubble at the Olympic athletes' village in Tokyo is already "broken". "It is obvious that the bubble system is kind of broken," said Kenji Shibuya, the former director of the Institute for Population Health at King's College London, news agency Reuters reported. "My biggest concern is, of course, there will be a cluster of infections in the village or some of the accommodation and interaction with local people."

Earlier, the Tokyo Olympic organisers had announced the first case of a Games volunteer testing positive for COVID-19 along with seven more contractors associated with the event here. Five athletes, three of them staying at the Games village, have tested positive for the virus till Monday. The volunteer who has returned a positive test is based in Iwate prefecture. The total number of Games-related COVID infections has risen to 67 with the addition of nine more cases to the official list. The showpiece opens on July 23 and will go on till August 8.

Games volunteers are directly involved in assisting its operations before, during and after the event. They play an active role in helping create the excitement among fans and assist athletes in managing logistics. With seven added to the list on Tuesday, the total number of infected contractors associated with the Games has gone up to 36. On Monday, Czech beach volleyball player Ondrej Perusic became the third athlete at the Olympic Games Village to test positive for COVID-19, while an American alternate woman gymnast training in Chiba prefecture also got infected.

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