Ugandan Olympic team member denied entry into Japan after testing positive for COVID-19

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By Kamyuka Kenneth

Reports from Japan indicate that a member of Uganda’s Olympic team who has not yet been identified has tested positive for the coronavirus and was barred entry into Japan and put under quarantine. It is not yet clear if it is an athlete or official.

It is understood that eight other members of the team were let in, and left early on Sunday by chartered bus for host town Osaka, central Japan.

It is the first detected infection among athletes arriving for the Tokyo Games opening in five weeks, according to The Asahi Shimbun. The Ugandan team was the second, after the Australian women’s softball team, to arrive for the Olympics, which open on July 23.

The team that arrived on Saturday at Tokyo’s Narita airport, were all fully vaccinated with the AstraZeneca jabs and had negative PCR tests before boarding. The  Asahi newspaper has reported.

The team members were however required to provide saliva samples for antigen testing as soon as they entered Japan.

One individual had to undergo a PCR test as the result of the antigen test was not definitive. The individual’s infection was confirmed after the PCR test, which is more sensitive than an antigen test.

This first batch of the Olympics team was flagged off on Thursday in Kampala by the Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC).

The athletes who include boxers, a weightlifter and a swimmer flew out on Friday for 33 days of training ahead of the Olympics next month.

The event in Kampala was graced by the Minister of State for sports designate, Hamson Obua and Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC) president, Donald Rukare together with the General Secretary of the National Council of Sports (NCS), Bernard Ogwel.

The athletes who are part of the first batch are boxers Shadir Musa, Catherine Nanziri and David Semujju, weightlifter Julius Ssekitoleko and Swimmer Atuhaire Ambala.

The athletes are accompanied by David Katende, the NCS Assistant Secretary-General.

Earlier in the week, the Word Rugby body withdrew the Uganda Rugby 7s team from the World Rugby Sevens Repechage competition that runs in Monaco, France from June 18-20.

Uganda’s team that was already in Monaco was withdrawn on Thursday following a number of COVID-19 positive results determined during scheduled arrival testing.

Uganda was going to play with Chile, France, Hong Kong and Jamaica in Pool B of the competition in a bid to secure a ticket for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to take place next month in Japan. This comes as damaging  news to the team.

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