Report: Serbian arriving for Tokyo Olympics is positive


A man wearing a protective mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus walks through the pre-open Main Press Center (MPC) for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at the Tokyo Grand Venue on Friday, July 2, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo / Eugene Hoshiko)


A member of the Serbian Olympic rowing team tested positive for COVID-19 as he attempted to enter Japan for the Tokyo Olympics which will open in just under three weeks.

The news was reported by Japan’s Kyodo agency on Sunday and cited officials from the Japanese Ministry of Health.

Officials said the athlete was isolated at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. Four other people traveling with the athlete were reportedly transferred to a facility near the airport. They were to go to a training camp in Nanto, in central Japan. Nanto officials said the training camp was subject to cancellation.

The report comes after two members of the Ugandan Olympic delegation tested positive for the coronavirus last month upon arrival in Japan. One of them tested positive at Narita Airport near Tokyo, but the rest of the team were allowed to go to a training site.

A second member of the delegation was later found to be infected with the virus.

The first member to test positive, after being in quarantine near Narita, tested positive again on Saturday after arriving in the Japanese city of Izumisano, according to a statement from the city.

Officials said the person was not considered contagious and that no contact tracing would be carried out.

Seiko Hashimoto, the chair of the Tokyo organizing committee, said on Friday that more than 500 participants had arrived in Tokyo without incident. Approximately 11,000 Olympic athletes and 4,400 Paralympic athletes will arrive for the Olympics, in addition to tens of thousands of coaches, judges and Olympic officials. Many fear the influx will increase COVID-19 cases across the country.

Organizers have yet to decide whether or not to allow local fans to enter theaters. Fans from overseas were banned months ago.

Almost two weeks ago, organizers announced they would allow indoor and outdoor venues to be filled at 50% capacity up to 10,000.

But with new infections increasing daily in Tokyo for two weeks, local organizers are expected to meet this week with the International Olympic Committee and others and lower the cap, or remove spectators altogether.

Tokyo reported 518 new cases on Sunday, marking the 15th day in a row that infections have risen from levels a week earlier. On Saturday, new cases reached 716, the highest in more than five weeks.

Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who lobbied for the Olympics, has attacked those who oppose the games, calling them “anti-Japanese”.

“Making the Olympics a success has historical significance for Japan,” Abe reportedly told the Mainichi newspaper. Abe blamed the calls to cancel the Olympics on people “who are criticized for having anti-Japanese views.”

Japanese media reported many possible scenarios, including: no fans at all; no fans at the opening ceremony on July 23; limits on fans at nighttime events; by lowering the limit on all sites to 5,000.

Dr Shigeru Omi, one of the government’s top medical advisers, has repeatedly said that no ventilator is the safest option. He also asked why the Olympics are being held in the midst of a pandemic. He called it “abnormal”.

PA reporter Mari Yamaguchi contributed to this report.

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