TOKYO – Halfway through the Tokyo Olympics, organizers have suspended or revoked the credentials of 14 Games participants for failing to adhere to playbooks with strict coronavirus prevention measures in place.
CEO Toshiro Muto said Sunday that six people had their accreditation removed, while another eight had theirs temporarily suspended. Additionally, organizers have had 10 cases of “strict warning incidents” and collected four signed pledges on top of those warnings.
“These incidents will affect the reputation of the majority of Games’ stakeholders who are adhering to the rules,” Muto said. “In order for the Games to be successful, we need all the stakeholders and participants to adhere to the rules.”
Two Georgian judoka medalists were among those expelled, organizers confirmed.
Silver medalists Vazha Margvelashvili and Lasha Shavdatuashvili left the Olympic Village to visit “one of their good acquaintances” in Japan, a Georgian official told the AFP.
All Games participants – athletes, officials, media and volunteers – are required to follow strict measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Among them is restricting travel to their accommodations and Olympics-related venues.
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The measures are in place to keep participants separate from the Japanese public. Games participants are at least 70% vaccinated, though some categories are more than that. Japan has vaccinated 27% of its population.
COVID cases are at an all-time high in Tokyo, with more than 4,000 cases on Friday.
Meanwhile, Tokyo Olympic organizers reported 18 new cases on Sunday. Most are residents of Japan, with 11 contractors, one volunteer and one Games-concerned personnel testing positives. The five remaining cases were non-residents and included one athlete and four personnel.
Organizers have relied on assurances from Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike that the rising cases in Tokyo are not connected to the Olympics.
“The Tokyo Games itself, the number of infections is suppressed. But on the other hand, outside of the Games, the number of infection cases are increasing,” Muto said. “How to analyze this, there are various different opinions.
“We are in line with their views. We take the same position.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 14 Tokyo Games participants penalized for breaking COVID rules