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Winter Olympics: 1,200 security staff sidelined after norovirus outbreak

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Organisers insist the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics are on track as they battle against the spread of a virus among staff and prepare to deal with the cold snap at Friday’s opening ceremony.

The Games chief, Lee Hee-beom, said preparations for the first Winter Olympics in Asia outside Japan were complete with athletes arriving in the South Korean town. “We are fully operational with many of our athletes and officials here and settling into their life in the villages and training is under way at all venues,” Lee told a news conference.

But he said 1,200 private security staff have been sidelined as fear of a norovirus among some of them has forced organisers to replace them with military personnel pending medical tests. The virus is highly contagious and causes vomiting and stomach cramps among other symptoms. Athletes from several countries were taken ill and some were forced to miss competitions at last year’s world athletics championship in London when the virus was found to have spread through one hotel.

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