Olympics: IOC discussing norovirus outbreak, more cases reported


PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) – Olympic officials are discussing measures to combat the spread of a virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea after 42 new cases were confirmed at the Winter Games, a Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) official said on Friday.

After rising from an initial 32 norovirus cases on Tuesday to 54 on Wednesday, the figure had risen to 128 as of late Thursday, with most of those affected security personnel, the KCDC said.

The virus broke out ahead of Friday’s opening ceremony in Pyeongchang and led to some 1,200 security staff being quarantined. Organizers have had to call in military personnel to replace them.

As yet, no athletes have been confirmed to have contracted the highly contagious virus. An outbreak at last year’s World Athletics Championship in London forced competitors from several countries to miss events.

Su Mun-gyo, a KCDC public relations official, told Reuters the International Olympic Committee (IOC) were discussing the issue.

“The IOC is meeting right now about the Winter Olympics and countermeasures to the norovirus is one of the topic,” Su said. “We will then announce the results of the discussions and update the number of cases again.”

Health agencies are undertaking hygiene inspections at accommodation and restaurants, as well as making checks on drinking and tap water.

Writing by Peter Rutherford; Reporting by Yuna Park; Editing by John O’Brien

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