World-record sprinter and eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt has tested positive for the coronavirus and is self-isolating at his home in Jamaica after celebrating his 34th birthday with a mask-free party last week.
Jamaica’s health ministry confirmed late Monday that Bolt, who holds world records in the 100-meter and 200-meter distance, tested positive after he posted a video on social media around midday saying that he was waiting on his results.
“Just to be safe, I quarantined myself and just taking it easy,” Bolt said in the video while lying in bed.
The only sprinter to win the 100-meter and 200-meter golds at three consecutive Olympics (2008, 2012 and 2016) added that he did not have any symptoms of COVID-19.
Bolt said he took the test on Saturday, the day after he celebrated his birthday.
“Best birthday ever,” Bolt, who retired from athletics in 2017, wrote on Instagram with a photo 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 — though some accused him of carelessness.
Confirmed cases in Jamaica have surged to more than 60 per day over the past four days, from fewer than 10 just a few weeks ago. Jamaica has 1,612 confirmed cases, with 622 active cases and 16 deaths.
Officials attributed the uptick in cases to the reopening of international borders and celebrations over a long weekend in August marking Independence Day and Emancipation Day. They also put the blame at the feet of people who refuse to wear masks and fail to practise social distancing.
The rise in cases has raised concerns about national elections that Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness called for in September, six months ahead of schedule.
Holness on Sunday suspended all of his campaigning activities, including motorcades, home visits and rallies, and he asked other parties to do the same.
Authorities have delayed the reopening of schools for one month, and citizens are under a national curfew from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m.