South Africa pair become first athletes to test positive for Covid-19 in Tokyo

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Two South African football players have become the first to test positive for coronavirus in the Olympic Village.

The pair, who were named by the South African Football Association as Thabiso Monyane and Kamohelo Mahlatsi, are among 10 new Games-related cases announced on Sunday.

A Games official was the first individual based in the Village to test positive on Saturday, on the same day IOC president Thomas Bach insisted the Games will be “safe and secure”.

IOC President Thomas Bach
IOC President Thomas Bach (Mike Egerton/PA)

Also among the 10 new positive cases connected to the Games is a third athlete who tested positive on arrival in Japan. The other positive cases were five ‘Games-related personnel’, one member of the media, and a contractor.

A third, non-playing member of the South African squad also tested positive upon arrival in Tokyo.

Team manager Mxolisi Sibam said in a statement: “Masha and Monyane reported high temperatures and positive saliva tests, and were then taken to do the nasal test…and they unfortunately tested positive for Covid-19.”

IOC president Bach insisted on Thursday that the risk of the Japanese public being infected with the virus by a Games participant is “zero”.

However there is rising nervousness in Tokyo after the city recorded over 1,000 new cases for the fourth straight day, with the number of Games-related cases since July 1 having now risen to 55.

Protesters against the Olympic Games in Tokyo
Protesters against the Olympic Games in Tokyo (Koji Harada/AP)

In a press conference on Sunday, IOC executive director Christophe Dubi appeared to backtrack, admitting: “There is no such thing as zero risk.

“At the same time, mingling with the population is incredibly limited. We can ensure that the transmission between the various groups is almost impossible.

“With all the measures that are in place, including the separation at the Olympic Village, we keep the risk at an absolute minimal level.”

Last week, the South African rugby sevens team were forced to quarantine for four days due to being considered close contacts of a passenger who tested positive on their flight to Tokyo.

Meanwhile the IOC Refugee Team has delayed its arrival in the Japanese capital from its training camp in Qatar after a member of its delegation tested positive.

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