Olympic athlete and five other personnel test positive for COVID-19

An unnamed Olympic athlete and five other personnel for the Tokyo Olympics have tested positive for COVID-19, organizers announced Thursday. The announcement comes as more athletes are arriving in Japan, and amid growing concern over the potential spread of the virus at the games — which begin in just eight days.

Officials said the athlete, who is not a resident of Japan, has been placed under a 14-day quarantine period. Four local contractors and one “Games-connected personnel” also tested positive. 

Of the 26 cases that organizers have announced in July, only the one disclosed Thursday has been an athlete. The vast majority of the cases were reported among local contractors. The tally does not include positive cases that were reported outside of Japan, according to The Associated Press.

At least seven staff members at a hotel in Japan that’s housing Brazilian Olympic athletes have also contracted the virus, according to Reuters. No one in the nation’s 31-person group, which has been separated from other hotel guests, has tested positive, Reuters reported.  

USA Basketball also announced Thursday that point guard Bradley Beal and forward Jerami Grant have been placed under the team’s health and safety protocols, with Beal unable to play in this year’s Games. 

Thomas Bach, the international Olympic committee president, said he was not concerned about the virus spreading throughout the games. 

“The risk for the other residents of the Olympic village and the risk for the Japanese people is zero,” he said in a meeting with governor Yuriko Koike. 

As part of updated protocols to curb the virus, organizers said Thursday that medals will be given to winning Olympians on a tray rather than placed around their necks. Handshakes will also not be permitted, according to The Associated Press. 

A week ago, Japan’s Olympic Minister Tamayo Marukawa announced that spectators won’t be allowed at Olympic venues this year due to a state of emergency imposed in response to the spread of COVID-19. The restrictions are scheduled to remain in effect until late August, when Japan hopes to have 40% of its population fully vaccinated against the virus. 

There have been 831,587 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Japan and 14,965 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. On Thursday, authorities reported more than 1,300 COVID-19 cases, the highest since January 21, The Associated Press said. 

Ramy Innocencio contributed reporting.