COMMONWEALTH Games organisers have traced the source of a suspected norovirus outbreak at the Athletes’ Village as the total number hit by the illness rose to 48.
First Minister Alex Salmond said officials were “confident” they had identified the probable cause of the outbreak, which sparked a health scare just days before Glasgow 2014 gets underway.
A further 18 members of the security workforce at the village reported with gastrointestinal symptoms yesterday, bringing the total number with the illness to 48.
Investigations suggest a temporary toilet facility in the athletes’ village in the east end of Glasgow site was to blame.
Mr Salmond said the facility – used during construction work in the security area – was “not as it should be.”
It comes as Mr Salmond announced that those behind the £563 million Games have further dipped into a special reserve fund, with £3.5m being set aside to bolster transport services.
Another £5.2m has been set aside from the same fund for potential “unknown issues,” such as “exceptional bad weather”.
No athletes or team officials have been affected by the suspected norovirus outbreak and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said the toilet block had been closed to prevent the bug – which leads to sickness and diarrhoea – spreading further.
Speaking after the final meeting of the Glasgow 2014 strategic group yesterday, Mr Salmond said: “We’re confident we’ve identified the cause of the outbreak, a temporary facility which was not as it should be.”
Norovirus is the most com-mon stomach bug in the UK, affecting between 600,000 and one million people of all ages every year.
The Athletes’ Village is said to be “operating as normal”, but infection control measures have been put in place. The 700-house Dalmarnock facility was officially opened last Sunday and will host 4,500 competitors and another 2,300 support staff during the Games.
Mr Salmond said the Games will be within the budget of £576m, plus £90m for security.
However, the meeting ratified further use of a £23m special reserve fund, necessary after a £45.8m contingency budget was used up.
Glasgow 2014 said some £3.5m will be used to “improve the spectator experience” by increasing bus services, enhancing park and ride facilities and improving traffic management.
Even though the opening ceremony is on Wednesday, organisers said traffic management planning “could not be fully costed” until this late stage.
Meanwhile, planned strike action by BBC staff that would have disrupted coverage of Wednesday’s opening ceremony has been suspended.
Journalists and technicians had been due to walk out for 12 hours during the curtain-raiser, prompting doubt as to how the corporation would fulfil its ambitious broadcast plans.
Members of the National Union of Journalists and the Bectu union will now be consulted over a new pay offer issued following a meeting with BBC management yesterday.