By Ricky Browne
As fast as he may be, the worlds fastest athlete Usain Bolt can’t outrun COVID-19.
On Monday, a few days after he celebrated his 34th birthday at a crowded party in Kingston, Bolt — the eight-time Olympic champion and world record holder for both the 100m and 200m — was confirmed to have the coronavirus.
The new father posted from his bed on social media that he had self-quarantined and was taking the necessary precautions. He said he had taken the test because he was planning on leaving the island today (Tuesday) for a job assignment overseas.
In his social media video on Monday, a worried-looking Bolt said “I am trying to be responsible, so I am going to stay in and be safe. I will quarantine myself and wait on the confirmation to see what is the protocol and to see how I go about quarantining myself from the Ministry of Health. Until then I will call my friends and tell them once they came in contact with me to be safe, quarantine and take it easy. Just to make people know, be safe out there.”
Bolt, who hadn’t felt any symptoms of the disease, received official confirmation from the Ministry of Health later that day.
It is not known if Bolt contracted the virus at his well attended party — said to have been a surprise party . The event took place on a rooftop football pitch in Kingston and was attended by other well known athletes and celebrities such as footballer Raheem Sterling, a Manchester City player who was born in Jamaica, as well as Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey
Social media has been less than kind to Bolt for attending the crowded pary, saying he shoud have known better, and hoping that he will not have infected his baby Olympia Lightning Bolt or her mother Kasi Bennett.
Video showed scores of people, including Bolt, dancing and hugging without wearing masks. Large gatherings are not currently allowed under Jamaica’s health protocols and according to Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness the police are investigating the incident.
“These matters are all being thoroughly investigated and the police will give a report on these matters in near future,” the Prime Minister said.
West Indies cricket star Chris Gayle was one of the party goers, but is said to have tested negative for the virus after the party. He is therefore cleared to travel out of the island to participate in the upcoming 2020 tournament.
Meanwhile, the police commissioner reported that more than 1,000 people had been charged in Jamaica for breaching the Disaster Management Act.
The island is currently in the last stages of a short election campaign, where Prime Minister Andrew Holness is expected to hold on to power. Island-wide electioneering plus recent independence celebrations have contributed to an increase in coronavirus cases, causing much public concern. There have even been calls to postpone the general election date of September 3rd to a safer date, though many question when that date could be.
The number of confirmed cases increased to more than 1,600, with health authorities blaming the increased number of parties and celebrations for the recent spike. There are more than 600 active cases in Jamaica, with 16 known deaths from the virus. About 53 people are hospitalised, and almost 30,000 people are supposed to be in quarantine at home, according to the Prime Minister.
There is a national curfew in effect on the island from 9:00 pm to 5:00 am, except for Kingston and the neighbouring parishes of St Andrew, St Thomas, St Catherine and Clarendon, where the curfew is longer, from 7:00 pm to 5:00 am, due to increased numbers in those areas.