Culture

Olympic Village sees its first Covid-19 cases

Employees work at the athletes' village for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Zhangjiakou in northern China's Hebei province on July 14, 2021. (Photo by Noel CELIS / AFP) (Photo by NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)
NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images

Already greatly affected by Covid-19, the Olympics this year are again experiencing issues with the virus. 2 South African athletes became the first to receive positive tests in the Olympic village.

The Olympics reported the cases at the time but only revealed the athletes were not Japanese. However, the South African FA revealed the full identities of the players and put out a statement regarding the positive tests. Given the mandatory 2-week isolation period, Thabiso Monyane and Kamohelo Mahlatsi cannot compete for the entire tournament.

In addition to the players, a video analyst for the team also tested positive. Luckily for the team, no other cases emerged.

Team doctor Phatho Zondi explained how players tested positive in Japan while testing negative in South Africa prior to traveling.

“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.”

Dr. Phatho Zondi

This year’s games already experienced problems stemming from the virus. After fans slowly returned to stadiums in many countries, Japan lagged behind. Unfortunately, the Olympics coincide with a lockdown order in Tokyo and surrounding areas.

Following a slow drop in cases since the start of the calendar year, a new spike occurred. Case numbers steadily rose since the start of July, rising up to around 2,600 confirmed cases per day. The last time numbers reached those heights in the country was all the way back in March.

That means no fans at all.

Despite the emergency, Japanese officials promised on hosting the games as normally as possible. However, many citizens protested the move, citing concerns for public safety in Japan.

The positive tests serve as yet another bump in the road for the 2020 games. Already, incidents of racism and “blasphemy” popped up prior to the Olympic opening on July 23.

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