55 People Working at the Olympics Have Tested Positive for COVID Since July 1

Over 50 people working at the Tokyo Olympic Games have tested positive for COVID-19 since July 1, with the Games set to open Friday.

Of the 55 confirmed cases, athletes or others who may have arrived early for training camp but are not yet under the "jurisdiction" of the International Olympic Committee are not included in the count, an official told the Associated Press.

However, several athletes have already tested positive, including two South African soccer players who became the first athletes inside the Olympic Village to contract the virus. Ryu Seung-min of South Korea was the first IOC member to test positive.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said there was "zero" risk of athletes passing on the virus to Japanese or other residents of the village.

But despite the stringent testing protocols and "soft quarantine" restrictions around Olympic facilitates, the arrival of over 11,000 people is stoking fear that the Games will be a major superspreader event and cause cases in Japan to surge.

Olympics COVID Cases
Tokyo 2020 banners are seen ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 19, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Since July 1, 55 people working for the Olympic Games have tested positive for COVID-19. This does not include the handful of athletes who have also contracted the virus in Japan. Toru Hanai/Getty Images

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

The two South African soccer players and a team video analyst who also tested positive had been moved to "the Tokyo 2020 isolation facility," the South African Olympic committee said. The rest of the squad members and officials had also been quarantined.

Also Sunday, Team South Africa confirmed the coach of its rugby sevens team also tested positive at a pre-Olympics training camp in the southern Japanese city of Kagoshima. He was also in isolation there and would miss the entire rugby competition, the team said.

And there were other Olympics-related positive tests. Olympic organizers said that another athlete had tested positive, although they were not residing in the Olympic Village. The athlete was not named and only identified as "non-Japanese."

Former distance runner and world championship bronze medalist Tegla Loroupe, the chief of mission of the IOC's Refugee Olympic Team, tested positive for COVID-19 before the team was to depart its Doha, Qatar, training base for Tokyo, two people with knowledge of her condition told the AP. The team delayed its arrival in Tokyo while Loroupe is expected to stay behind, according to the two people, who requested anonymity because they weren't authorized to reveal medical information.

The British Olympic Association said six athletes and two staff in the track and field squad are isolating at the team's pre-Olympic base in Yokohama after being deemed close contacts of a person who tested positive following their flight to Japan. U.S. tennis player Coco Gauff didn't travel to Japan after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Tokyo reported 1,008 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, the 29th straight day that cases were higher than seven days previously. It was also the fifth straight day with more than 1,000 cases. The Olympics will open under a state of emergency in Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures.

No fans, Japanese or foreign, will be allowed at any of the Olympic sports in Tokyo and the three neighboring prefectures. A few outlying venues may allow a small number of local fans, but it has effectively become a TV-only event.

About 200 protesters gathered Sunday outside Shinjuku station in central Tokyo, waving signs that read "No Olympics." It was the latest in a series of small protests against the Games in the last few months.

"This is ignoring human rights and our right to life," protester Karoi Todo told the AP. "Infections are increasing. To do the Olympics is unforgivable."

The IOC also says more than 80 percent of the athletes set to compete in Tokyo will be vaccinated against COVID-19.

But, despite the assurances, the positive tests five days out from the opening ceremony showed the regulations aren't — and can't be — foolproof.

The South African team's chief medical officer said every member of the team had two negative tests before traveling to Japan "as per Tokyo 2020 requirements." They also tested negative on arrival in Tokyo, Dr. Phatho Zondi said.

"Team officials and management have followed all relevant Olympic Playbook rules, protocols and procedures throughout the pre-Games and Games arrival routines," the South African Olympic committee said.

Coach Neil Powell and the entire South Africa rugby squad were held at a quarantine facility after arriving in Japan because of a positive COVID test on their flight, Team South Africa said. They were cleared to leave, only for Powell to test positive a few days later.

Powell had been vaccinated against COVID-19 with the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine in South Africa on May 24, team spokesman JJ Harmse told the AP.

South African Olympic and soccer officials didn't immediately confirm whether the two soccer players and official who tested positive had been vaccinated, although South Africa's Olympic committee said in May it would offer all its Olympic athletes the J&J vaccine.

The Olympics were effectively over before they began for the two soccer players and Powell as they would have to remain in quarantine for 14 days under Japanese regulations.

The only way the soccer players might be able to play is if their team made the semifinals.

IOC President Thomas Bach
IOC President Thomas Bach gestures during a press conference at the Main Press Center, ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Saturday, July 17, 2021. The first resident of the Olympic Village has tested positive for COVID-19, Tokyo Olympic organizers said on Saturday. Over 50 people working for the Games have already contracted the virus. Shinji Kita/Kyodo News via AP)