Authorities said Sunday that two South African footballers and a video analyst tested positive for coronavirus at the Tokyo Olympics, raising fears of a cluster a few days before the opening ceremony. The cases were overshadowed by the gloomy atmosphere surrounding the 2020 Games, which will finally open on Friday after a year’s delay but are against the Japanese public. Players Thabiso Monyane and Kamohelo Mahlatsi and analyst Mario Masha are isolated after giving positive results, the South African team said, adding that the entire delegation is complying with the rules against coronavirus.
“When they arrive, they have tests, go to the Olympics every day and comply with all the mandatory measures,” a document says.
South African seven-a-side rugby coach Neil Powell also tested positive and is isolated in the Japanese town where Squadra is coaching.
“The timing of the positive results suggests that the PCR test of these people was performed during the incubation period of the infection, which may be negative in South Africa and then positive in Japan,” said chief physician Phatho Zondi.
Organizers had previously picked up two athletes and a member of the assistants became the first cases in the Olympic Village without identifying those involved.
Fifty-five cases related to gambling have been found this month, including four in sports.
Competitors are traveling around the world for the Pandemic Delayed Olympics, with Japan reacting harshly to the risk of new Covid appearances.
In the Olympic Village, a set of Tokyo’s apartment and dining areas will house 6,700 athletes and officials at its peak when the Games kick off.
The Tokyo Games will be held behind closed doors to largely prevent infections. The Japanese capital remains in a state of emergency of coronavirus and has seen a sharp rise in cases.
Olympic officials have been hurt to reduce the health risks of the Games, which are taking place under stringent conditions against coronavirus, with athletes who are tested on a daily basis.
“Mixing and crossing populations is very limited. We keep the risk to an absolute minimum,” Olympic Director Christophe Dubi said on Sunday.
“We can make sure that transmission between different groups is almost impossible.”
But Tokyo residents expressed uneasiness over the cases in the town.
“I thought the Olympic Village would be safer, so I’m also surprised that the virus got in there. I think it’s dangerous,” Riyoka, a 23-year-old employee of Kasahara Cosmetics, told AFP.
For his part, Ryu Seung-min, a member of South Korea’s International Olympic Committee, tested positive when he arrived in Japan and was placed in solitary confinement, a body spokesman said.
On Sunday, six athletes and two officials from the British track and field were self-isolated after being identified as positive as an individual’s close relationship after arrival.
On Saturday, COI President Thomas Bach called on Japanese fans to show up in favor of the Games, saying he knew he was “very skeptical” about the event.
Athletes are coming in search of a restrictive environment for daily testing, social distance and no movement outside of the Olympic “Bubble”. They are ordered to leave Japan within 48 hours of the incident.
In another example of difficulty, the entire Australian athletics team was put on hold before the quarantine, after a member of his entourage returned a conclusive test. The officer then refused.
“We hope there will be cases related to these games and what will really happen is how we respond to them and make sure there is no peace of mind,” said David Hughes, medical director of the Australian Olympic team.
In the tennis tournaments of the Games, when Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams were missing, he lost another draw card when American teenager Coco Gauff pulled out after giving Covid-19 a positive.
On Saturday, Seiko Hashimoto, head of the Games, admitted that the Athletes are “probably very concerned” about coming to Japan, which promises full transparency in the Covid cases.
Japanese and Olympic officials have also been forced on defense to welcome Bach, which is attended by 40 people, while Tokyo remains in a state of emergency of the coronavirus.
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