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Israeli guard to Tokyo Olympic delegation contracts COVID-19

Other security staff to quarantine, two weeks ahead of opening ceremony; athletes not yet in Olympic Village, were not exposed

The main dining hall is seen during a press tour of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Village, June 20, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
The main dining hall is seen during a press tour of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Village, June 20, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Two weeks before the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony, a security guard to the Israeli delegation was found to be infected with COVID-19.

The other security staff who were with the infected guard in the Olympic Village in Japan will have to quarantine for 14 days, Channel 12 news reported.

The guard had not come in contact with any athletes from Israel or other countries, as they are only permitted to enter the village five days before the start of the Summer Games.

With just two weeks to go before the opening of the biggest sports tournament since the COVID-19 pandemic began, organizers were forced Thursday night to yield to a surging domestic virus caseload and bar spectators from the majority of Olympic events.

The decision means the Games will be the first to take place largely behind closed doors — a blow to athletes who will now compete in front of largely empty stadiums.

It was a serious blow for Japanese taxpayers and local organizers of the games, which already had been postponed from 2020 by the coronavirus. Hundreds of millions of dollars in ticket revenue will be lost, and that must be made up by the government. Fans also have endured months of uncertainty about whether the Olympics will go ahead.

Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto, left, and Tokyo Olympics Minister Tamayo Marukawa attend a local municipality working group meeting in Tokyo, July 8, 2021. (Behrouz Mehri/Pool Photo via AP)

About 11,000 Olympians and 4,400 Paralympians are expected to enter Japan, along with tens of thousands of officials, judges, administrators, sponsors, broadcasters and media.

The International Olympic Committee said more than 80% of Olympic Village residents will be vaccinated. But still, all participants will have to undertake daily virus tests.

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