Olympics ‘could still face last-minute cancellation’ amid rising Covid cases

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The chief of the organising committee for the Tokyo Olympics has not ruled out a last-minute cancellation amid continuing Covid-19 complications in the Japanese capital.

Rising cases have now seen 67 people become affected ahead of the first events on Wednesday and the official opening ceremony on Friday.

Toshiro Muto said: "We can't predict what will happen with the number of coronavirus cases. So we will continue discussions if there is a spike in cases.

"We have agreed that based on the coronavirus situation, we will convene five-party talks again. At this point, the coronavirus cases may rise or fall, so we will think about what we should do when the situation arises."

The Games have already been delayed by a year due to the pandemic, and will take place without spectators.

(Image: Getty Images)

Two South African footballers became the first athletes to test positive for coronavirus, while six competitors and two staff members from Team GB's athletics team are self-isolating after being deemed close contacts of an individual that test positive after their arrival to Tokyo.

Thabiso Monyane and Kamohelo Mahlatsi were confirmed by the South Africa FA as their positive cases, while video analyst Mario Masha also tested positive.

Twenty-one other players and officials have been deemed close contacts and are self-isolating.

They are confined to their rooms at the Olympic village with all their meals delivered to their door. They must also undergo daily PCR testing.

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"We have three positive cases of Covid-19 in the camp here, two players and an official," said South Africa team manager Mxolisi Sibam.

"There is daily screening which included taking temperature and saliva testing.

"Masha and Monyane reported high temperatures and positive saliva tests and were then taken to do the nasal test, which we all had initially taken – and they unfortunately tested positive for Covid through that test. Mahlatsi is the latest player to go through the same process."

The British Olympic Assocation confirmed their eight close contacts in a statement, but said the individual that had tested positive was not part of the Team GB delegation in Tokyo.

"This is disappointing news for the athletes and staff, but we absolutely respect the protocols in place," said Team GB chef de mission Mark England.

Hand sanitising stations inside the Olympic village

"We will offer them every support during this period and we are hopeful that they will be able resume training again soon."

Taylor Campbell, who will compete for Team GB in the hammer throw, insisted these cases will be "unavoidable" throughout the Olympics.

He tweeted: "I'm on a flight now with GB members and instead of putting us together at the back of the flight we are mixed among the public.

"We asked at the desk to be moved next to other team members onto empty rows but weren't allowed to change our seat. We have trained hard to get in this position to now risk it all on something out of our control."

Games chief Seiko Hashimoto said: "Athletes who are coming to Japan are probably very worried. I understand that.

"We are doing everything to prevent any Covid outbreaks. If we end up with an outbreak we will make sure we have a plan in place to respond."

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