A member of Team Nigeria contingent to the Olympics became the first visitor to the Tokyo Games to be admitted after testing positive for the COVID-19 virus.
According to reports, the delegate tested positive on Thursday evening at the airport with mild symptoms but was hospitalised because of age and preexisting conditions.
On Friday, the Australian Olympic Committee said that tennis player Alex de Minaur, ranked 15th in the world, had tested positive before his departure for the Games, becoming the latest athlete to have the virus shatter his Olympics dream, reports Reuters. “We’re very disappointed for Alex,” Australia’s chef de mission, Ian Chesterman, told reporters.
“He said that he’s shattered, not being able to come … but he has sent his very best wishes for the rest of the team.” De Minaur returned two positive tests in Spain before he was due to fly to Japan, David Hughes, the AOC’s chief medical officer, told a news conference.
Another Olympic dream crushed was that of US basketball star Bradley Beal, after USA Basketball said on Thursday the Washington Wizards star would miss the Games after entering coronavirus protocols at a training camp in Las Vegas.
The coronavirus has infected several athletes and others involved with the Games, which start on July 23, even as infections spread in Tokyo and experts warn worse may lie ahead.
On Friday, top government spokesperson Katsunobu Kato told a news conference that a Ugandan athlete had gone missing, with police and the team’s host city in western Japan mounting a search.
Public broadcaster NHK said the athlete was a weightlifter, whose absence from a PCR test had been spotted by an official of the host city, Izumisano, in Osaka prefecture. Though a state of emergency has been clamped on Tokyo for the pandemic, most measures to limit its spread are voluntary and many say they have grown weary of them.
Meanwhile, organizers have promised that the Games, postponed from last year because of the pandemic, will be “safe and secure.”
They have imposed strict testing and limits on delegates’ activities to try to soothe the concern of the Japanese public, many of whom wanted the Games cancelled or postponed again.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said on Thursday there was “zero” risk of Games participants infecting Japanese with COVID-19, as infections hit a six-month high in the host city.
However, Japanese Olympic gold medalist turned chief of the Japan Sports Agency, Koji Murofushi, told Reuters on Friday that organizers needed flexibility and swift decision-making in reacting to the spread.