Three athletes from three different countries were excluded from the Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19 here on Wednesday, less than two days before the show opened amid growing health safety concerns.
Chilean taekwondo player Fernanda Aguirre, Dutch skateboarder Candy Jacobs and Czech TT player Pavel Sirucek were forced to withdraw from their respective events and be quarantined.
Aguirre tested positive on arrival at the airport here, while the results of Jacobs and Sirucek were revealed in the village of Games, with the total number of cases in the strictly protected facility reaching seven.
“Fernanda Aguirre has been tested for Covid-19 in tests conducted on her arrival in Japan,” a statement from Chile’s National Olympic Committee said in a statement.
Jacobs posted a message on his Instagram page announcing that her Olympic campaign was over. “I’m devastated. Unfortunately, I took a COVID-19 test this morning, which means my Olympic trip ends here … I did my best to prevent this scenario and took all precautions,” she said.
Sirucek’s test was confirmed by the Czech Olympic Committee in a statement, adding to the two contingent cases open until Tuesday.
“He is currently in isolation, as are the other three members of the Czech team, in whom antigen and subsequent PCR tests have detected the virus in recent days,” the Czech NOC said.
The contingent’s sports director, Martin Doctor, said the situation was beyond their control.
“We are very sorry about the whole situation … none of us can fully control the spread of the virus, no matter how well we defend ourselves. I must say that I admire the attitude with which Pavel, Ondra Perusic (men’s beach volleyball) and Simon Naush (a beach volleyball coach) reacted to this situation, “he said.
Due to the new case, several other Czech athletes who had been in contact with previously infected people underwent a PCR test on Wednesday morning. “We currently know that two more athletes are awaiting a confirmatory PCR test,” added Doctor.
Aguirre traveled to Tokyo from Uzbekistan with a negative COVID report, but tested positive for both antigen and PCR tests at the airport here, after which she was quarantined at a facility.
“The athlete is asymptomatic and in good health, but unfortunately will not be able to compete in this event because the Japanese health authorities impose a quarantine of at least 10 days,” said the Chilean NOC.
The taekwondo event starts on Saturday. Her coach Jose Zapata was also quarantined, despite negative tests, as he was considered close contact.
Aguirre was one of eight cases of COVID-19 among gaming-related staff revealed by the organizing committee on Wednesday.
Before Aguirre and Jacobs, it was found that five athletes, three of whom reside in the village of Igri, were infected with the virus, but none of them arrived on the airport.
The total number of COVID-related gaming cases rose to 75 with the addition of eight cases on Wednesday.
The COVID Olympics will open on Friday and run until August 8 without spectators. Despite growing health concerns, the International Olympic Committee insisted that canceling the event was not an option.