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Positive COVID tests in Olympic village

Two South African soccer players have become the first athletes inside the Olympic village to test positive for COVID-19.


Overall South Africa have four confirmed infections after the soccer team's video analyst and the country's Sevens rugby coach Neil Powell also tested positive. Powell tested positive on arrival in Japan and is in isolation in Kagashima where the Sevens squad are at a pre-Games training camp.


It follows the confirmation earlier on Sunday that two players and a team official from South Africa's soccer team competing at the Games had also tested positive.

Defender Thabiso Monyane and winger Kamohelo Mahlatsi, as well as video analyst Mario Masha, are also in isolation as the team prepares to face hosts Japan in their opener on Thursday.


The South African rugby side will turn to video conferencing in their bid to win a gold medal with Powell to take on the role of virtual coach. Powell must isolate for 14 days, meaning he will not be on the sidelines when one of the pre-tournament favourites go for gold from July 26-28.


But he will continue to help the side he has coached since 2013 in their preparations this week, albeit through a computer screen, and will liaise with assistant coach Renfred Dazel on match day. Team South Africa's Chief Medical Officer Phatho Zondi said they were surprised at the infections, but believed all protocols had been followed for the country's athletes competing at the Games.

"Every member of Team South Africa required full medical clearance as an eligibility criteria," Zondi said in a statement.
"In addition, they were encouraged to isolate for two weeks pre-departure, monitor health daily, report any symptoms, and produce two negative nasopharyngeal PCR tests taken within 96 hours of departure, as per Tokyo 2020 requirements.
"The timing of the positive results suggests that the PCR test in these individuals was done during the incubation period of the infection, which is how they could be negative in South Africa and then positive in Japan.
"They are now in isolation where they will continue to be monitored and will not be allowed to train or have any physical contact with the rest of the squad(s)."

Meanwhile, six British track and field athletes and two staff members have been forced to isolate after being identified as close contacts to an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 on their flight to Japan.


The British Olympic Association said the group had been flagged through Tokyo 2020's reporting service and were now undergoing a period of self-isolation in their rooms at the team's preparation camp. None of the six athletes were named.


In other news, organisers also said another athlete had tested positive but the person was not residing in the Olympic village.  The first International Olympic Committee (IOC) member has also reported a positive test upon entering Tokyo, Ryu Seung-min of South Korea. 


The IOC's Refugee Olympic Team chef de mission Tegla Loroupehas tested positive for COVID-19 in a training camp in Qatar. But the IOC said the Olympic refugee team would start arriving in Tokyo later on Sunday, ending speculation about their participation.

Loroupe is expected to stay behind.


Of the 29 refugee athletes, 26 had been at the Qatar camp and had to delay their departure for Tokyo earlier this week following the positive case. Tokyo reported 1,008 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, the 29th straight day that cases were higher than seven days previously. It was also the fifth straight day with more than 1,000 cases reported.