TOKYO (Reuters) -The so-called bubble to control COVID-19 infections at the Olympic athletes’ village in Tokyo is already “broken” and poses a risk of spreading infections to the general populace, a prominent public health expert said on Tuesday.
Games officials on Sunday reported the first COVID-19 case among competitors in the village in Tokyo where 11,000 athletes are expected to stay. There have been 67 cases detected among those accredited for the Games since July 1, organisers said on Tuesday.
“It’s obvious that the bubble system is kind of broken,” said Kenji Shibuya, the former director of the Institute for Population Health at King’s College London.
“My biggest concern is, of course, there will be a cluster of infections in the village or some of the accommodation and interaction with local people.”
Insufficient testing at the border and the impossibility of controlling people’s movements mean that the Games could exacerbate the spread of the infectious Delta variant of the virus, he added.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said last week that testing and quarantine protocols would leave “zero” risk of Games participants infecting residents in Japan.