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Eight athletes test positive for COVID-19 at World Cup event in Hungary

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Eight fencers who contracted the coronavirus at an Olympic qualification tournament in the Hungarian capital Budapest have been placed in quarantine, organisers said on Thursday.

The Budapest Sabre World Cup was the first major global fencing event this year and took place this month amid the rapidly spreading third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

The eight fencers are from six different countries, Hungarian Fencing Association spokesman Andras Szetey said, declining to name the nations.

Hungarian media this week reported that three Japanese and one Greek athlete were among those infected.

The fencers were subjected to frequent testing for COVID-19 but after arriving in Hungary they were allowed to move freely between their hotels and the tournament venue.

About 390 athletes plus coaching staff from 49 countries participated in the event which finished on Sunday.

The central European country, and especially the capital, are among the areas of Europe worst affected by the coronavirus, with infections and deaths among the highest in the world per capita.

Hungarian authorities have imposed a strict lockdown since early March and the country imports and administers the most vaccines per capita in the European Union, according to EU data.

That has failed to stop the spread of the virus, with the daily death toll setting a record high of 207 on Thursday in the country of 10 million people.

Reporting by Marton Dunai, editing by Ed Osmond