US pole vaulter infected as Olympics virus cases inch higher

US pole vaulter infected as Olympics virus cases inch higher
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(July 29): US pole vaulter Sam Kendricks, a world champion tipped for a medal at the Tokyo Olympics, has tested positive for coronavirus and won’t be competing further in the games as the worst virus surge yet hits the host nation.

Kendricks’s infection also forced Australia’s 63-strong track and field team to go into isolation briefly, after an athlete was confirmed as a close contact of the 2016 bronze medalist. The whole team has now been cleared to compete after testing negative, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The athletics competition is set to kick off Friday, while Kendricks remains in isolation at a hotel.

Kendricks is not among the three athletes whose positive Covid tests were announced by organizers earlier Thursday, a US Olympic & Paralympic Committee spokesman said. His case will be reflected in the daily count on Friday.

The latest infections among athletes come as Tokyo and its surrounding areas experience a new wave of Covid-19. The capital found a record 3,177 cases Wednesday. Infections in neighboring Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama prefectures also hit peak levels, broadcaster NHK reported, pushing the national daily infection rate to a record of 9,576.

Organizers announced 24 new cases associated with the games Thursday — eight higher than the previous day — bringing to 193 the total number of infections as reported by the organizing committee. The three other athletes who tested positive were staying in the Olympic Village, but no further details were given about them. So far, the majority of games-related infections have been among residents of Japan.

With no plans to suspend the Games, the government is considering expanding the state of emergency in Tokyo to cover the three nearby prefectures, broadcaster NTV said, citing an unidentified ruling party official.