Olympics-Athletics-Australia training camp locked down after COVID scare

Australia's Olympic team arrives in Japan for Tokyo 2020
Members of Australian team wait to take the quantitative coronavirus disease (COVID-19) antigen test after arriving at Narita International Airport ahead of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, in Narita, east of Tokyo, Japan July 17, 2021. REUTERS/Issei Kato

July 18, 2021

(Reuters) – Australia’s entire athletics team for the Tokyo Olympics was quarantined in their rooms on Saturday at their pre-Games training camp in Cairns following a COVID-19 scare.

An inconclusive test had been returned by an unnamed official who travelled from Melbourne but subsequent tests have so far been negative, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) confirmed on Sunday.

Athletes have since been permitted to compete in a warm-up event after being kept in their rooms from around midday on Saturday until late that evening.

“My understanding is (Athletics Australia) applied an abundance of caution and said to athletes: ‘Right, just until we get this sorted out everyone is going to stay in their rooms,'” said David Hughes, the AOC’s chief medical officer.

“COVID doesn’t have legs, it can’t move unless people move. So they did the right thing. They said to everyone: ‘Stay still until we get this sorted.'”

Athletes and officials at the camp were all placed in isolation in their rooms as Athletics Australia implemented extra testing protocols above those required, Hughes said.

The official, whose inconclusive test was followed by two negative tests, must complete additional tests before rejoining the rest of the team.

(Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong; Editing by Edmund Klamann)