One week ahead of the opening ceremony for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, the first confirmed case of COVID-19 has been found in the Olympic Village.
The Associated Press reports that the person, who is identified as “games-concerned personnel,” tested positive Friday and was placed in a 14-day quarantine.
“In the current situation, that positive cases arise is something we must assume is possible,” said Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the Tokyo organizing committee.
Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto reiterated Muto’s remarks. “I understand that there are still many worrying factors,” Hashimoto said. “Organizers must try to make sure that people will understand that these games are safe and secure.”
According to organizers, the unidentified person is one of 44 people affiliated with the Tokyo Olympics who have tested positive for COVID-19 since July 1. 14 of those cases were reported Saturday. 28 of the 44 positives have involved Tokyo 2020 contractors. The list includes one unnamed athlete and three members of the media.
The news arrives just a little over a week after Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared a new state of emergency amid the recent rise in COVID-19 cases, effectively banning spectators from the upcoming Games.
“It will be an unusual way of staging the event amid a state of emergency,” Suga told reporters last week. “But I want to show from Tokyo that the human race can overcome great difficulty through hard work and wisdom.”