New Zealand Chef de Mission Nigel Avery announced that one athlete is isolating in a hotel with COVID-19 ©ITG

A New Zealand athlete is isolating after a positive test for COVID-19 prior to competition at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, Chef de Mission Nigel Avery revealed here.

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.

Speaking at a media briefing held outside the Arena Birmingham, the venue for artistic and rhythmic gymnastics and the Games Media Hub, Avery revealed details of an asymptomatic case affecting an unnamed male member of the New Zealand team.

"Unfortunately we had one person in isolation hotel," Avery said.

"The CT [cycle threshold] score was deemed not to be high enough to release them into the general population, so they're in an isolation hotel.

"They’re being well supported by the New Zealand team, who are doing a great job.

"I've spoken to this athlete twice now, and had a few jokes.

"I think he's ran through the whole catalogue of Netflix.

"He's asymptomatic, so we're just going to work through the process and take things step by step."

Avery added that it was too early to provide any guarantees on whether the athlete would be able to compete at the Commonwealth Games.

Nigel Avery insisted
Nigel Avery insisted "we all owe a great deal of thanks" to Birmingham for staging the Commonwealth Games ©ITG

"As far as being able to compete or not, we're just following this process," the Chef de Mission said.

"His CT score is going higher which is a good thing, so we're just going to wait and see what happens.

"Should it be the case that he may not compete then we'll let you know."

The hotel that the athlete is isolating in has a gym facility, and Avery insisted that "while it's perhaps not ideal, he's making the most of what the situation is".

The Chef de Mission acknowledged that the outlook on COVID-19 in Britain, one the worst-hit countries in the world but one where few restrictions remain in place, is different compared to in New Zealand.

"They're learning to live with COVID as I'm sure many other parts of Europe and North America are, and no doubt New Zealand will, so maybe it's a window into the future," Avery said.

"But it was strange particularly when we arrived.

"We went into the hotel and we were walking around Birmingham and we were the only ones with masks."

COVID-19 protocol at Birmingham 2022 has been subject to some debate, with Commonwealth Games Australia chief executive Craig Phillips admitting that organisers have taken a "more relaxed approach" than previously anticipated.

New Zealand is due to be represented by 233 athletes at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images
New Zealand is due to be represented by 233 athletes at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images

Barbados Chef de Mission Cameron Burke has praised "the Organising Committee for the relaxation of the COVID protocols as it builds that closeness", and Birmingham 2022 has insisted that it has implemented a "proportionate response to the pandemic".

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games are due to begin on July 28 and run until August 8.

Avery commended organisers for their visual work.

"I love the way they've dressed city," the Manchester 2002 weightlifting gold medallist said.

"They've got some really interesting architecture, really funky.

"I love the library, it's pretty cool.

"We all owe a great deal of thanks to the city for putting this on at short notice through what has been a very difficult period, so we are very, very grateful to be here."

New Zealand is due to be represented by 233 athletes at Birmingham 2022.