KINGSTON: World-record sprinter and eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt said on Monday (Aug 24) he was self isolating while waiting to hear back from the health ministry after taking a coronavirus test this weekend.
Jamaican radio station Nationwide News had reported earlier on Monday that Bolt, who holds world records in the 100m and 200m distance, had contracted the virus.
In a video message posted to Instagram, which Bolt appears to have taped himself while lying in bed, he said he saw the report when he woke up and scrolled through social media.
Instead of explicitly confirming it, he said he took a test on Saturday because he had to fly for work, but did not have any symptoms.
"I am going to quarantine myself and wait on the confirmation to see what is the protocol," said the only sprinter to win the 100m and 200m golds at three consecutive Olympics (2008, 2012 and 2016).
"Just to be safe I quarantined myself and just taking it easy."
Days earlier, on Aug 21, Bolt celebrated his 34th birthday with a big bash where many partygoers were mask-free, dancing to the hit Lockdown by Jamaican reggae singer Koffee, videos posted on social media showed.
"Best birthday ever," Bolt wrote on Instagram, posting a photo of himself holding his baby girl Olympia who was born this May.
Daily confirmed cases have risen in the Caribbean island nation of around 3 million, to more than 50 over the past four days from less than 10 just a few weeks ago.
Jamaica now has had 1,529 confirmed cases, with 622 active cases, 16 deaths from coronavirus.
Officials put the uptick in cases down to the reopening of international borders as well as 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 practice social distancing.
The pickup has raised concerns over national elections that Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness called for in September, six months ahead of schedule.
Holness on Sunday suspended all his own campaigning activities includes motorcades, home visits and rallies and asked other parties to do the same.
Authorities have also delayed the reopening of schools for one month, several communities are under quarantine, and citizens are under a national curfew from 7pm to 5am.
The Commissioner of Police, Major Antony Anderson, has tested positive for the virus, and several government offices and major businesses have shut down as positive cases have emerged.