Guinea withdrew from the Olympics over fears of the rise in COVID-19 cases in Tokyo.
"Due to the resurgence of COVID variants, the government, concerned with preserving the health of Guinean athletes, has decided with regret to cancel Guinea's participation in the 32nd Olympics scheduled for Tokyo," a statement from Bantama Sow, the minister of sports for the West African nation, wrote in a letter to the country's Olympic Committee.
Team Guinea consisted of five athletes: Fatoumata Yarie Camara, a freestyle wrestler; swimmers Mamadou Tahirou Bah and Fatoumata Lamarana Toure; track athlete Aissata Deen Conte; and judo competitor Mamadou Samba Bah.
Guinea is the first nation scheduled to participate to pull out because of virus fears. North Korea never committed to the Tokyo Olympics for that reason.
There were nearly 2,000 new COVID-19 cases in Tokyo reported Thursday, the city's highest daily total since January.
The opening ceremony for the Olympic Games in Japan's capital is scheduled for Friday.
The 1,979 new coronavirus cases were 671 more than the total from last Thursday and the most since 2,044 were recorded on Jan. 15.
Tokyo has been under a state of emergency since July 12, but infections have continued to climb since then. Only about 23 percent of Japanese are fully vaccinated, compared to about 50 percent in the U.S. and Canada.
Spectators are banned from all venues in the Tokyo area for the Summer Olympics, which were delayed for a year by the pandemic.
--Field Level Media