On Sunday, Team SA confirmed that South Africa’s Sevens rugby coach, Neil Powell tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Japan ahead of the Olympics. Powell is the fourth South African to test positive, which includes three SA under-23 members, as News24 reports.
Two players, Thabiso Monyane and Kamohelo Mahlatsi, along with video analyst Mario Masha were said to have tested positive for the virus.
Powell has since been admitted to an isolation facility in Kagoshima, the Japanese city where the Sevens squad have been conducting a pre-game training camp.
According to IOL, Team SA’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Phatho Zondi, explained that: “Every member of Team South Africa required full medical clearance as an eligibility criteria. In addition, they were encouraged to isolate for two weeks pre-departure, monitor health daily, report any symptoms, and produce two negative nasopharyngeal PCR tests taken within 96 hours of departure, as per Tokyo 2020 requirements.”
“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,” Zondi added.
In a statement, SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee confirmed that “general team management are following all protocols and processes and pursuing all channels to expedite decision making and ensure the comfort and needs of all affected individuals.”