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Two athletes in Tokyo’s Olympic Village test positive for Covid-19

Two athletes in Tokyo’s Olympic Village test positive for Covid-19

(CNN)Two athletes in Tokyo’s Olympic Village have tested positive for Covid-19, organizers confirmed Sunday, just days before the Games were set to begin.

Three cases have now been confirmed in the village. The first case was reported on Saturday after an individual, not believed to be an athlete, tested positive.

Outside the Olympic Village a third athlete tested positive on Sunday, said organizers. The names and nationalities of the positive cases were not made known.

    The Tokyo 2020 Olympics will begin on Friday — but concern is growing over the danger of Covid spreading, with 55 confirmed cases now linked to the Games, including officials and contractors.

      First case of Covid-19 reported at Tokyo Olympic village

      The Japanese public, as well as many international observers, have voiced alarm over the Games going forward as Japan struggles to rein in its latest coronavirus outbreak.

        The country saw a huge second wave in the spring, peaking in April and May with close to 6,000 new cases per day. Cases began falling in June but have risen in recent weeks, sparking fears the arrival of teams from more than 200 countries could turn the Games into a global superspreader event.

        As of Friday, more than 15,000 Olympic individuals had entered Japan, according to Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The Olympic Village, containing 21 residential buildings, will house about 11,000 athletes.

          Bach acknowledged criticisms about staging the Olympics during the pandemic, but also defended the preventative measures that had been taken.

          “We are well aware of the skepticism a number of people have here in Japan,” he said at a news conference on Saturday. “My appeal to the Japanese people is to welcome the athletes for their competitions.”

          Organizers announced this month that the Tokyo venues will not have spectators due to the city’s coronavirus state of emergency — an unprecedented move, according to an IOC spokesman.

          The Olympic Village is prepped with Covid testing and health centers, with signs reminding residents to wear face masks and keep at least one meter (about 3.3 feet) away from each other. Athletes will be contact-traced and tested for Covid daily; if they test positive, they will be taken to an isolation facility outside the Olympic Village, and will not be able to compete.

            Other measures in the village include limiting the capacity of indoor facilities, such as dining halls and training centers, where residents are separated by plastic barriers.

            Still, some athletes have decided against the risk and pulled out of the games, including Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios and Australian basketball player Liz Cambage. About 10,000 Olympic volunteers have also quit.

            CNN’s Selina Wang contributed to this report.