TOKYO — The United States women’s gymnastics team won’t be bunking in Tokyo’s Olympic Village.
A day before a member of the team tested positive for Covid-19, the coach of Simone Biles and Jordan Chiles confirmed that her athletes will be staying at a nearby hotel instead.
“It was also a decision that we all made together,” the coach, Cecile Landi, wrote Sunday on Twitter. “We know it isn’t ideal during a pandemic. We feel like we can control the athletes and our safety better in a hotel setting!”
USA Gymnastics said Tuesday that the squad had always intended to stay at a hotel instead of the sealed-off, 109-acre waterfront section of Tokyo that’s been reserved for the 11,000 athletes competing in the Games, which officially kick off Friday.
Landi’s tweeted confirmation came before alternate Kara Eaker tested positive at the training camp in Narita, some 30 miles east of Tokyo.
Both Eaker and fellow alternate, Leanne Wong, have been placed in quarantine.
“Tokyo 2020 is not in a position to comment on individual team’ performance decisions,” the organizing committee said in an email after NBC News reached out for comment Tuesday.
Game organizers had gone to great lengths to keep Covid out of the Olympic Village, but on Saturday the first confirmed infection was reported — a nonathlete from Japan.
Then, on Sunday, two athletes who had been staying in the village tested positive for Covid-19.
And on Tuesday, two Czechs who had also been living in the village tested positive — beach volleyball trainer Simon Nausch and player Ondrej Perusic. Both are isolating at an undisclosed location, the Czech team said in a statement.
The Olympic Games are being staged in the midst of the pandemic and in the face of broad opposition by half the country which fears an influx of foreigners will worsen the crisis. Just 22.4 percent of Japanese are fully vaccinated, according to the latest statistics.
Already dozens of people with ties to the Games — both Japanese and people from abroad — have tested positive for Covid-19, and a state of emergency was imposed in Tokyo this month to keep the virus from spreading even more.
But that means arriving athletes have had to overcome a battery of tests and other hurdles to compete in Tokyo, and there will be no fans in the stands to cheer them on once they do.
“We understand the public’s concern over the positive cases that have been reported so far, including the athlete’s village, and we will continue to handling these cases appropriately based on protocols we’ve established with the guidance of medical experts,” Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto said Tuesday. “Since July 1, so far close to 30,000 people have arrived from overseas, of which 31 people tested positive for Covid, which means the infection rate is roughly 0.1 percent.”