World-record sprinter and eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt has tested positive for COVID-19 and is self-isolating at his home in Jamaica after last week celebrating his 34th birthday with a big mask-free bash.
The Jamaican Ministry of Health confirmed late on Monday that Bolt, who holds world records in the 100m and 200m, had tested positive after he posted a video on social media around midday saying he was waiting to hear back on his results.
“I did a test on Saturday to leave [Jamaica] because I have work,” Bolt said in the message that he appeared to have taped himself while lying in bed. “I am trying to be responsible so I am going to stay in and be safe.”
“I will call my friends and tell them once they came in contact with me to be safe, quarantine and take it easy,” Bolt said.
The only sprinter to win the 100m and 200m golds at three consecutive Olympics said that he did not have any symptoms of COVID-19.
Bolt said that he took the test the day after he celebrated his birthday at a bash where partygoers danced to the hit Lockdown by Jamaican reggae singer Koffee.
“Best birthday ever,” Bolt, who retired from athletics in 2017, wrote on Instagram, posting a photograph of himself holding his daughter, Olympia, who was born in May.
Fans wished Bolt a speedy recovery on social media — “drink up your ginger tea,” one wrote — although some accused him of carelessness.
Daily confirmed cases in Jamaica have surged to more than 60 per day over the past four days from less than 10 just a few weeks ago.
Jamaica now has 1,612 confirmed cases, with 622 active COVID-19 cases and 16 deaths.
Officials put the uptick in cases down to the reopening of international borders, as well as celebrations over a long weekend this month marking Independence Day and Emancipation Day.
They also put the blame at the feet of people who refuse to wear masks and practice social distancing.
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that police are investigating the circumstances surrounding Bolt’s birthday party.
“There are reports of an activity related to Usain Bolt,” Holness said. “These matters are all being thoroughly investigated and the police will give a report on these matters in near future.”
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