Officer tests positive for COVID-19 after Olympic torch relay duty in Japan

Apr 23 , 2021. 16 hours ago – 18:19 KYODO NEWS

A Tokyo Olympic torch relay runner arrives at internationally renowned Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s contemporary art Red Pumpkin on a small island in the Seto Inland Sea in Naoshima, Kagawa Prefecture, western Japan. Naoshima Island is known as a mecca of contemporary art, hosting the Setouchi International Art Triennale with other small islands in the sea every three years. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

TOKYO – A police officer who engaged in traffic control duties during the Tokyo Olympic torch relay in western Japan last week has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, organizers said Thursday, the first such case confirmed among those involved in the event.

It is unknown when or how the officer in his 30s was infected, they said, but the announcement may fuel concern about the government sticking to the plan to hold the Summer Games despite few signs of the pandemic coming to an end.

The officer directed traffic in Naoshima, Kagawa Prefecture, on Saturday. He took a test the following day after feeling unwell, the organizers said, adding they believe no one came in close contact with him, judging from the parameters of his work that day.

The organizers have scaled back the Japan leg of the torch relay, which started March 25 in Fukushima Prefecture, in some areas as the event could potentially draw crowds despite lingering concerns over the resurgence of infections across the country.

The Tokyo Olympics, which has been postponed for one year due to the pandemic, is scheduled to start July 23, although the government is close to imposing a third state of emergency in Tokyo as well as Osaka and some other prefectures for about three weeks through mid-May.

Cr. KYODO NEWS