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Virus under control as Commonwealth Games village welcomes 1000 competitors

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | 7:38 AM    

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GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — The athletes' village at the Commonwealth Games welcomed 1,000 more competitors from 25 countries on Monday, and none of them should have to worry about a stomach virus that affected staff at the site last week.

Games officials said an outbreak of norovirus, a highly contagious gastrointestinal illness which affected 53 employees, was under control. A temporary toilet facility identified as a likely source of the infection was shut down.

The news came as a relief to Commonwealth Games Federation officials ahead of Wednesday's start. Four years ago in New Delhi, more than a dozen swimmers from Australia and England fell ill from a stomach virus at the swimming venue, and before the India games began there were complaints about unsanitary conditions in the athletes' village.

Earlier on Monday, the Glasgow entry list of nearly 4,500 athletes from 71 countries in 17 sports was increased slightly when organizers approved late entries, adding 48 competitors. While the original deadline for entries was June 11, the affected athletes were not entered due to administrative oversights by their national officials.

Those officials received a slap on the wrist from the federation.

"The CGF executive board took the view that wherever possible athletes should not suffer because of the failings of their administrators," president Prince Imran said.

The athletes were from Kenya, Jamaica, Uganda, Trinidad and Tobago, Tanzania, Australia, Ghana and the Bahamas.

Traffic restrictions — special lanes for Games vehicles — went into effect across Scotland's largest city on Monday, two days ahead of the opening ceremony. It will be held at Celtic Park, home of Celtic FC football club, and 69-year-old rocker Rod Stewart and singer Susan Boyle will be part of the festivities involving 2,000 cast members and 40,000 spectators.

Usain Bolt is the biggest name among the athletes in the 11-day event, but he will only compete in Jamaica's 4x100-metre relay. Mo Farah, who won both the 5,000 and 10,000 metres for the home country at the London Olympics in 2012, is scheduled to run in both events if he can overcome a stomach muscle injury.

The event is being held less than a month before Scotland's September 18 referendum on whether to break away from the rest of Britain, and politics won't ever be far away.

The country's first minister, pro-independence Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond, will hold a news conference at the main press center on Tuesday. Salmond has appealed to Scottish patriotism throughout the referendum campaign as he attempts to break up a union first formed with England in 1707 with a shared monarch, currency and a London-based government.

The current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, is expected to officially open the games on Wednesday, with Salmond not far from her side.

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