Olympic Athlete’s Village Bubble in Tokyo Might Have Been Broken as 58 Cases Reported


Bubble. In the past, the word used to mean circular pockets of foam we get from soapy solutions, but in today’s pandemic-ridden context it also connotes some form of physical isolation and separation from the rest of the world.

Now, what happens when that bubble bursts and a virus isn’t contained anymore? 

The consequences are a lot more dire for sure, compared to the harmless bubbles that burst in your bath.

Here’s what went down with the bubble that may have broken at the Olympic Athlete’s Village in Tokyo. 

Olympic Athlete’s Village Bubble in Tokyo Might Have Been Broken as 58 Cases Reported

According to a prominent public health expert on Tuesday (20 July), the bubble used to control and contain COVID-19 cases at the Olympic Athlete’s Village in Tokyo is already “broken”.

As such, there is a risk of the infection being transmitted to the general wider community. 

A COVID-19 case had been reported by games officials on Sunday (18 July) within the athletes’ accommodation in Tokyo, which is the area of residence for the athletes during the Olympics.


This was the first case that had been detected at the place of accommodation for the athletes. 

The nationality of the person was not revealed to protect their privacy. 

Since 2 July, 58 positive cases among athletes, officials and journalists have been reported by the organisers of the games. 

Kenji Shibuya, the former director of the Institute for Population Health at King’s College London, commented, “It’s obvious that the bubble system is kind of broken.”

He stated that his biggest concern is that there may be a “cluster of infections in the village” or within the premises of accommodation, and that there could be intermingling with the local community. 

He also said that inadequate testing at the border and the immense difficulty of controlling the movement of individuals may worsen the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant of the virus. 

The difficulty in restricting the movement of people was evident when Ugandan weightlifter Julius Ssekitoleko disappeared from his team’s training site in Osaka. 

According to media reports, he had left behind a note saying that he wished to stay and work in Japan, as it was difficult to live in Uganda. 

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach had earlier assured people that testing and quarantine procedures would allow for “zero” risk of participants in the Games infecting the local community in Japan.

However, Shibuya pointed out that such reassurances only confuse and infuriate people since reality clearly paints a very different picture.

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