Tokyo — Forced into quarantine after sharing the same flight with a Covid-19 case, members of the Kenya national women's sevens rugby team were finally released on Wednesday.
The team of six players and team manager Camilyne Oyuayo then checked into the Tokyo Olympic Games Village, ending an eight-day quarantine in a government facility.
But they will have to live in isolation for the remaining days of their 14-day quarantine, Team Kenya's chef de mission here, Waithaka Kioni said Wednesday.
"Although this isolation will be different because they are now with the rest of the family here," Kioni added.
The players had been held back in Tokyo as a procedural precaution after one of the passengers on their Qatar Airways flight to Tokyo from Doha tested positive for Covid-19.
None of the Kenyan contingent has returned positive results after being tested multiple times.
"Following a positive result, potential close contacts are assessed and reviewed by the REAG (Results Advisory Expert Group) and will be confirmed as a close contact by the Japanese health authorities," the rules say.
The Principles of the Management of Athletes and Team Officials Confirmed as Close Contact stipulate that "close contacts will undergo daily nasopharyngeal PCR (NPH-PCR) testing, in principal."
"While being managed as a close contact, the individual(s) are allowed to continue to train and compete, as Tokyo 2020 will implement additional precautionary infection prevention measures," the regulations add.
The Kenyan players in isolation are: Sheila Chanjira, Diana Awino, Vivian Akumu, Leah Wambui, Judith Auma and Stella Nelima.
Besides Team Manager Oyuayo, the team's physiotherapist Samuel Kimotho is in the same group. The rest of the team in Kurume, is comprised of head coach Felix Oloo and seven players, namely Philadelphia Olando (captain), Cynthia Camilla, Christabel Lindo, Grace Adhiambo, Sinaida Aura, Janet Okello and Sarah Bridgid Oluche.
"The players reported to the Athletes' Village where they will continue to self-isolate," Kioni said Wednesday.
"Fortunately they have been testing negative every day... We shall continue to encourage them. Their teammates who are training in Kurume are also very excited with the developments."
Earlier, Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed had expressed her solidarity with the quarantined Lionesses after a video of the players doing improvised training on hotel corridors.
"I wish the Kenya Lionesses the very best at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Your resilient winning attitude powered by patriotism and unfailing grit inspires us all," the Cabinet Secretary said on Tuesday.
"Though the circumstances may be difficult, your spirit to conquer every limitation is deeply uplifting. We are all very proud of you," the CS said.