The South African Sevens rugby team faces more disruptions when they arrive in Tokyo for the Olympic Games this weekend. Five unnamed players, who were in close contact with coach Neil Powell, have been barred from entering the Athletes’ Village.

Powell is self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19 on arrival in Japan. The Blitzboks have been preparing for the sevens competition in Kagoshima. They have now learned that the group has to split in two when it arrives in Tokyo.

Five players and some staff who have been in close contact with Powell, will stay in a hotel, while the rest of the group will settle in the Olympic Village. The Blitzboks start their campaign on Monday with two Pool C matches against Ireland and Kenya.

Tokyo cases

Meanwhile, Tokyo reported 1 359 COVID-19 cases on Friday, part of a wave of infection in the capital as the Olympic Games kick-off. This came a day after Japan’s capital posted its highest daily number infections since January after 1 979 people were confirmed to have contracted the virus on Thursday.

Olympics organisers said on Friday that three more competitors at the Tokyo Games, including one resident of the athletes’ village, had tested positive for COVID-19.

Olympics-related cases rose by 19, organisers said, bringing the total number of disclosed cases to 106.

Rising COVID-19 cases in Tokyo have cast a large shadow over an event that was already postponed last year because of the pandemic. It is now taking place without spectators to minimise health risks. – Additional reporting by Reuters