First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

South African Athletes Infected With Covid in Olympic V...



South African Athletes Infected With Covid in Olympic Village

South Africa head coach Neil Powell. (Photo: Ben Hoskins / Getty Images)
By Bloomberg
19 Jul 2021 0

(Bloomberg) -- Two South African footballers tested positive for Covid-19 at the Tokyo Olympic Village, where athletes are housed during the competition.

By Takashi Nakamichi
Jul 18, 2021, 5:10 AM – Updated on Jul 18, 2021, 6:02 PM
Word Count: 307

The cases are the first reported among athletes at the village, according to a document from Tokyo’s Olympic-organizing committee on Sunday. There are 55 positive cases tied to the Tokyo Games.

The games, which start July 23, will be the first to be held without spectators. Tokyo is grappling with a surge in coronavirus cases which prompted the government to declare a fourth state of emergency in the capital earlier this month. The city reported 1,410 new infections on Saturday, the most since Jan. 21.

Three members of South Africa men’s under-23 soccer team — including players Thabiso Monyane and Kamohelo Mahlatsi — have tested positive and are isolating, the nation’s football association said in a statement. The nation’s Rugby Sevens coach Neil Powell also had a positive test.

Pressure is mounting on Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to meet his pledge to hold a “safe and secure” Olympics. A public survey conducted Saturday by the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper and the Social Survey Research Center shows that 65% of respondents doubt Suga can deliver on that promise, as compared with 19% who said otherwise. Also, 48% said they are in no mood to enjoy the games.

Many Japanese oppose holding the Olympics out of fear it could become a superspreader event in a country that trails its Group of Seven peers in vaccinations. About 20% of the population has been fully inoculated, according to Bloomberg’s Covid vaccine tracker.

International Olympics Committee President Thomas Bach recently said very strict anti-Covid measures for athletes and officials “are enforced and they are working.”

–With assistance from Antonio Vanuzzo.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]


Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted