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Tokyo 2020: Australian athletics team put into isolation after US athlete tests positive for Covid

Australia’s athletics team at the Tokyo Olympics has been put into isolation after American world-champion pole vaulter Sam Kendricks tested positive for Covid-19.

All 63 members of the Australian team have reportedly been confined to their rooms and are undergoing tests for Covid.

Kendricks is one of three athletes - and 24 Games-related personnel - to test positive in the last 24 hours, according to Olympics officials. It means there have now been almost 200 positive Covid tests directly linked to the Games.

A statement from the Australian Olympic Committee confirmed that members of the track and field team “are isolating in their rooms as a precautionary measure following news of a Covid-positive finding with a member of the US track and field team”.

This comes as Australian pole vaulter Kurtis Marschall has been confirmed as a close contact of Kendricks, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. They trained together recently.

The athletics competition begins on Friday, and the pole vault qualifying event on Saturday.

There are also fears that other athletes may have interacted with Kendricks. Later on Thursday morning, an Argentinian pole vaulter was identified as the second of three athletes to test positive.

Argentine pole vaulter German Chiaraviglio announced on Instagram that he has tested positive for Covid and is out of Olympics, like Kendricks.

“It is very hard to process something like that, it will surely take me a long time [to process]. We knew this Olympic game was different and with different rules, and here I am, it's my turn,” he said.

The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee confirmed the news that Kendricks tested positive for Covid-19 and will not compete in the Tokyo Olympics. He has been placed in isolation at a hotel.

Two people attending the Olympics from overseas have also been hospitalised after testing positive for Covid, Reuters quoted Tokyo Games spokesperson Masa Takaya as saying.

Neither case is serious, but it has added to concerns that the Games will add to the pressure on Tokyo’s health system at a time when infections are surging. The Olympic host city recorded 3,177 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday.

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