Tokyo Olympic organisers will require athletes to submit to a COVID-19 test before and on arrival in Japan as part of proposed coronavirus countermeasures to protect those at the delayed Games.
- Under the proposal, athletes will not have to undergo a two-week quarantine period
- Athletes will also have to submit an activity plan indicating their proposed destinations
- Organisers say they are yet to make a decision on spectator numbers or whether athletes will be kept in a “bubble”
Japanese athletes and other participants living in Japan will face the same requirements, according to the draft measures, which are still being discussed.
Organisers say they are yet to make a decision on spectator numbers or whether athletes will be kept in a bubble away from members of the public.
“Athletes should be protected, and by contacting the public the athletes might spread COVID-19 — that is a possibility,” Tokyo2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said.
Mr Muto said he hoped there would be more concrete plans in place by mid-December, but there were still many discussions that needed to be had with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), international sporting federations and national Olympic committees.
The IOC’s coordination commission will be held remotely on Thursday, with the draft measures certain to make for some challenging negotiations.
No decision has been made on how many tests athletes will have to undertake while in Japan or in the Olympic and Paralympic Village.
Under the proposal, athletes will not have to undergo a two-week quarantine period but they will have to submit an activity plan indicating their proposed destinations, such as competition and training venues, and how they will get there.
“It should be very difficult — it’s not realistic for us to consider not using public transportation by athletes because they will have to go to regional areas, they might have to use public transportation,” Mr Muto said.
The draft countermeasures from Games organisers were discussed with members of the Japanese Government and the local Government this afternoon.
In June, Toshiro Muto warned: “The Games will not be a grand splendour but will be a simplified Games.”
Japan’s Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, held a call with IOC president Thomas Bach, with both reiterating their hopes the Games would go ahead safely and securely.
Mr Bach said earlier in the day the recent staging of various sporting events around the world should provide confidence the Games would go ahead next summer.
Many difficult questions remain for Games organisers.
The Japanese Government and the IOC took the unprecedented decision in March to postpone the Games, which were originally scheduled to begin in July.
Tokyo officials have said they intend to hold the Games in 2021 even if the pandemic has not eased substantially.
Five-time Olympic champion swimmer Ian Thorpe said earlier this month he wanted the Games go ahead but was doubtful they could without a coronavirus vaccine.
“So let’s put that into perspective and, if we haven’t got a treatment or a vaccine for COVID, the Olympics will possibly not go ahead.”
The IOC’s coordination commission chair John Coates said he did not believe a vaccine would be needed for the Games to go ahead.