Birmingham 2022 chief executive Ian Reid said fewer than three per cent of athletes and officials that had arrived in Birmingham had tested positive for COVID-19 ©Getty Images

Birmingham 2022 chief executive Ian Reid has revealed that fewer than three per cent of the athletes and officials that have arrived in the English city for the Commonwealth Games have tested positive for COVID-19.

More than 4,500 athletes from 72 nations and territories from across the Commonwealth have landed in Birmingham for the Games that are set to open tonight.

Australia, England, Northern Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, India and Malaysia are among the nations that have been hit by positive COVID-19 cases in the build-up to Birmingham 2022.

Two Pakistan hockey players have been identified as testing positive upon arrival in Birmingham and have been placed in isolation.

It has been reported that Rana Abdul Waheed and Mohammad Abdullah were the players that contracted the virus.

India’s men’s hockey team have also been affected with two players and three support staff confirmed as delivering positive results.

According to PTI, striker Gurjant Singh, coach Graham Reid and a video analyst have been put in quarantine after being infected for COVID-19.

Batter Sabbhineni Meghana and all-rounder Pooja Vastrakar are facing a race against time to be fit for India’s women’s Twenty20 cricket campaign after testing positive in their home country.

Hockey player Gurjant Singh is reportedly among several Indian athletes that have been hit by coronavirus ©Getty Images
Hockey player Gurjant Singh is reportedly among several Indian athletes that have been hit by coronavirus ©Getty Images

Vastrakar remains in quarantine in India, while Meghana is set to join the squad and could play in tomorrow’s opener against Australia.

Paul Pollock of Northern Ireland has been forced to pull out of the men’s marathon race, scheduled for Saturday (July 30) after testing positive, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

Two members of England’s team that arrived in Birmingham returned positive tests, with one subsequently cleared to compete following further testing.

Australia’s two-time world javelin champion Kelsey-Lee Barber has also tested positive during a training camp in Tonbridge in south-east England, but she is expected to compete at the Games, with her event set to be held on August 7.

Two Malaysian officials are also reportedly in COVID-19 enforced quarantine, while New Zealand revealed earlier this week that an athlete was isolating after testing positive.

Athletes have been required to take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for the virus before travelling to Birmingham and another upon arrival in the English city.

Several recommendations have also been made by Birmingham 2022 including minimising physical contact, wearing masks in "indoor settings while in close proximity to athletes and on Games transport" and staying in their accommodation if they develop COVID-19 symptoms.

Birmingham 2022’s approach to dealing with the virus at the Games has been questioned by some leading team officials.

The United Kingdom has removed all coronavirus entry rules for travellers, but Reid said it was important to put measures in place to ensure the safety of athletes.

Javelin thrower Kelsey-Lee Barber is expected to compete in Birmingham despite testing positive for COVID-19 ©Getty Images
Javelin thrower Kelsey-Lee Barber is expected to compete in Birmingham despite testing positive for COVID-19 ©Getty Images

"As you can imagine, this has been months in the planning to try to get the right balance of putting on a safe Games but also recognising the current climate here in the UK," said Reid.

"We have tested every athlete and official that are staying in the Village as they enter the UK and our welcome centre.

"We have a welcome centre set up at Birmingham Airport to be able to do that.

"So far, we have had a relatively low percentage of positive tests.

"I think it’s less than three per cent that have been positive.

"We are really pleased with that and that’s been a result of the fact that we have asked all of our competing athletes to do pre-departure tests as well."

Reid stressed that it was "not a binary system" with those infected by the virus being treated on a case by case basis.

"[Health experts] are also looking at the data that is coming from those PCR tests and they can tell at the reading of those the level of infectiousness from each athletes," said Reid.

"We also take into account the sport that those athletes are competing as well.

"We are trying our best to make sure that we get everybody to be able to compete.

"Undoubtedly there will be some challenges, but I think that will be very small numbers.

"Next to the welcome centre, we have an isolation hotel so those that have tested positive can be taken there if their recommendation is to isolate.

"They are monitored and tested regularly so we are trying our best to get them back to the field of play in a safe way and we have had really positive feedback from all of the countries competing that genuinely we have got that balance."