Tokyo Olympics: Australian tennis player De Minaur tests positive for COVID-19, latest athlete to miss the Games

The world No. 15 returned two positive tests in Spain before he was due to fly to Japan, David Hughes, the AOC's chief medical officer, told a news conference.

"We're very disappointed for Alex," Australia's Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman told reporters on Friday.   -  REUTERS

Australian tennis player Alex de Minaur has tested positive for COVID-19 before his departure for the Tokyo Olympics, the Australian Olympic Committee said on Friday, the latest athlete to see his Olympics dream shattered by the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. basketball star Bradley Beal’s Olympic dream was cut abruptly short on Thursday when USA Basketball announced the Washington Wizards star will miss the Tokyo Games after he entered coronavirus protocols at training camp in Las Vegas.

Several COVID-19 cases have emerged in the past week involving athletes and other people involved with the Games, which start July 23, but all have been either in pre-departure or on arrival in Japan.

Athletes started entering the Olympic Village on Tuesday and there have been no reports of virus infections or scares inside the village. Olympic organisers say "bubbles" will protect Games participants and the Japanese public from the virus spreading.

READ: Tokyo 2020: Azarenka joins list of Olympic Games tennis exits

Tokyo is under a state of emergency as COVID-19 cases hit a nearly six-month high, but most steps are voluntary and many people have grown weary of complying.

"We're very disappointed for Alex," Australia's Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman told reporters on Friday.

"He said that he's shattered, not being able to come. It's been a dream since he was a child to represent Australia at the Olympic Games, but he has sent his very best wishes for the rest of the team."

The world No. 15 returned two positive tests in Spain before he was due to fly to Japan, David Hughes, the AOC's chief medical officer, told a news conference.

Games organisers have promised that the Games, postponed last year because of the pandemic, will be "safe and secure" and imposed strict testing regimes and limits on delegates activities to try to soothe concerns amongst the general public, many of whom wanted the Games cancelled or postponed again.

READ: Tokyo Olympics 2021: Kerber pulls out of tennis event at the Games

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said on Thursday there was "zero" risk of Games participants infecting Japanese residents with COVID-19, as cases hit a six-month high in the host city.

Bach said Olympics athletes and delegations had undergone more than 8,000 coronavirus tests, resulting in three positive results. "Risk for the other residents of Olympic village and risk for the Japanese people is zero," he added.

The Tokyo Games will be held without spectators at most venues, and officials are urging the public to stay home and watch on TV, depriving Japan of its hopes for a Games with pomp and public spectacle.

The Japanese government's top spokesman, Katsunobu Kato, on Friday declined to comment on a media report that Bach had suggested to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga that if the coronavirus situation improved then spectators should be allowed into stadiums to watch the Games.

READ: Tokyo 2020: Cases surge to six-month high a week before Games

Bach was set on Friday to visit Hiroshima, the first city to suffer an atomic bombing, to deliver what organisers have called a message of peace on the first day of an "Olympic Truce", an ancient tradition to cease hostilities during the Games.

But the visit has proved controversial, with some critics charging the IOC of using it as a publicity stunt.

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