Tokyo Olympic Torch Staff Member Becomes Event’s First COVID Case | News on the coronavirus pandemic

The policeman tested positive for the virus after working on the relay in Kagawa Prefecture on the Japanese island of Shikoku.

A police officer helping with the Japan Olympic Torch Relay became the first participant linked to the event to be diagnosed with COVID-19.

The man in his 30s tested positive for the virus after working on the relay in Kagawa Prefecture on Japan’s southern island of Shikoku, Tokyo 2020 organizers said in a statement on Thursday.

The officer was guiding traffic in Naoshima City on Saturday and fell with a fever the next day, Asahi newspaper reported, citing organizers and prefectural police.

The man wore a mask and had no contact with the runners, according to the report.

Separately, two runners, a TV personality and a former Olympian dropped out of a relay event scheduled to be held in Western Tottori Prefecture next month, state broadcaster NHK reported.

Public support for the postponed Olympics has waned amid fears the event will worsen COVID-19 infections, now hitting the country in a fourth wave.

The Japanese government is expected to declare a state of emergency this week, the third last year, in major population centers in Tokyo and Osaka.

The Games, already delayed by a year, are expected to start in 92 days. Olympic and government officials said postponing the Games was out of the question.

Currently, Japan is also grappling with a relatively slow rollout of the vaccine which has so far only approved the Pfizer-BioNTech version.

About 25 percent of the 4.8 million healthcare workers and just over 13,000 older people have so far received a first dose of the vaccine.

The Japanese government has said it will have a sufficient supply by September to immunize everyone over 16 in the country of 125 million people, but the schedule to complete the vaccinations is not yet clear.

Despite the problems, Olympic organizers insist the Games can be held safely and have issued virus rules to allay public fears.

Athletes will not be required to self-quarantine or be vaccinated but will be required to limit movement and undergo regular testing.

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