TOKYO (AP) – An outdoor drinking party at the athletes village that broke rules designed to limit the spread of COVID-19 at the Games is being investigated, Tokyo Olympic officials said Sunday.
Organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said “multiple athletes” and other team officials were drinking alcohol at the park within the village late Friday. Police arrived after the incident, Muto said at a news briefing, without identifying the athletes or any team involved or what action, if any, officers took.
The 11,000 athletes at the Tokyo Olympics were warned before the Games that drinking alcohol in groups was a breach of the so-called playbook rules intended to limit COVID-19 infections.
Athletes were told they could drink alone in their rooms at the complex of 21 residential towers next to Tokyo Bay.
In the most serious cases of rule-breaking, athletes can be removed from the village and have their Olympic credential taken away.
“We are investigating the situation and based on the result we are to take appropriate action,” Muto said through an interpreter.
Two medal-winning athletes lost their Olympic accreditation during the week for taking an authorized tourist trip outside the village.
Vazha Margvelashvili and Lasha Shavdatuashvili, who both won silver medals for Georgia in judo, were seen near Tokyo Tower on Tuesday after their events finished, which Muto described as a “clear and serious violation” of the rules.
The Georgian embassy in Tokyo later apologized for the incident.
Athletes are under strict orders not to go outside the Olympic bubble and mix with people living in Japan to help avoid the spread of the coronavirus.
Tokyo and the rest of Japan are both recording record numbers of daily COVID-19 cases during the Olympics, which are being held amid a state of emergency in the city and neighboring prefectures.
The tally of Olympic-accredited people who tested positive for COVID-19 since July 1 rose to 264 in figures announced Sunday. Tokyo organizers said one athlete who stayed in the village was among 18 new cases.
A total of 27 athletes are among the 264 overall cases, though not all stayed in the athletes village.
The overall total includes 108 visitors to Japan, with 35 identified in more than 41,000 mandatory tests taken upon arrival at airports in Japan.
Muto said one Games-accredited visitor to Japan was being treated in the hospital, though no person infected had serious symptoms.
Asked if holding the Olympics had contributed to the rising number of infections in Japan, Muto repeated previous comments from Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga that there was “no correlation.”
Muto did acknowledge concern about the number of infections among contractors living in Japan who were working at the Olympics. They account for 135 of the 264 cases.