Tokyo 2020 Olympic bubble system ‘sort of broken’, public health expert says


“Visitors, athletes, journalists, delegates, of course, they’re supposed to be in the bubble, but it doesn’t work well,” Dr Kenji Shibuya said in an interview with Reuters.

“Obviously the bubble system is sort of broken, so there seems to be some sort of interaction between the guests and visitors as well as the locals.”

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo 2020 organizers did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.

Tokyo 2020 will host around 11,000 athletes – representing more than 200 countries – and they will stay in 21 residential buildings.

However, not all of these athletes will be in Tokyo for the duration of the Games. The organizers say the athletes should arrive at the Olympic Village five days before their competition and leave no later than two days after.

As they begin to arrive, the number of Covid-19 cases in Japan linked to Tokyo 2020 now exceeds 70, according to organizers on Tuesday.

The coach of the Czech Republic’s Olympic beach volleyball team, Simon Nausch, has tested positive for Covid-19, the Czech Olympic Committee announced on Tuesday.

Nausch, who becomes the third member of the Czech Olympic team to test positive for the virus, has left the Olympic Village and is currently in isolation.

“As a result of previous cases in our team we have tried to be extremely careful, unfortunately it did not work. I am however very happy to be isolated before I can compromise someone else’s participation. to the games, ”Nausch said.

READ: Why we still see cases of Covid-19 among top athletes
The entrance to the Olympic Village in Tokyo 2020.

“Fundamental problem”

Tokyo reported 1,387 new cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday, the city’s second-highest daily increase in new cases since January 21, according to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government website.

The capital is currently under a state of emergency linked to the coronavirus, which is due to expire on August 22, and organizers announced this month that the Tokyo venues will therefore have no spectators.

However, Shibuya added that he believed the “fundamental problem” was the “lack of an open and transparent discussion” on how the Games can be played safely.

“There is no way for them to track people’s movements, and there is no quarantine for athletes and journalists for 14 days,” Shibuya added.

“In theory, if they could have implemented all the measures, it could have been done, but in reality the bubble is not working.”

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was not immediately available for CNN’s request for comment.

READ: American gymnast and basketball player tested positive for Covid-19

The opening ceremony is scheduled to take place on Friday, but it’s still unclear how many people will attend.

Organizers told CNN that “fewer athletes” are expected to participate as they arrive in the country after the ceremony “in accordance with restrictions that will be in effect governing their length of stay in the Olympic Village.”

“We are holding delegation registration meetings with individual athletes, where it is confirmed whether or not they will participate in the opening ceremony,” the Tokyo 2020 press office told CNN.

“As these meetings will continue until the day before the opening ceremony, we are not yet able to provide a detailed estimate of the number of participants.”

The Director General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is in Japan and must address the IOC.

“May these # Tokyo2020 Olympics be a source of hope and unity to achieve #VaccinEquity and end the pandemic,” tweeted Tedro, who is commonly known by his first name.

The IOC unanimously approved a decision to include the word “together” in the Olympic motto.

IOC President Thomas Bach said the motto amendment was to “adapt it to our times” at the 138th IOC Session in Tokyo on Tuesday.

The modified Olympic motto is “Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together”. It is the adaptation of the original Latin motto which now translates as “Citiuc, Altius, Fortius – Communiter”.

“I think this is really an important step in our development,” said Bach, “we want to put special emphasis on solidarity, and that’s what the word ‘together’ means, that we are working in solidarity. “

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