Tokyo 2020 organisers put athletes at heart of principle Covid-19 countermeasures

Coordination team agree on key measures in interim report, including fast-track entry for athletes as basics of Games' coronavirus protocol, with vaccine not taken into account

By Shintaro Kano ·

Athletes competing at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2021 will be tested at least once every four days and traced throughout the duration of their stay in Japan - at their host town, the athletes' village, and competition venues, using aids like smartphone apps.

Those are among the key Covid-19 countermeasures for Tokyo 2020 that were laid out in an interim report published on Wednesday (2 December) with a singular focus - the safety and security of the athletes.

A coordination panel led by the Games organising commmitee and the Japanese and Tokyo metropolitan governments summarised six meetings' worth of measures, which also included a fast track for athletes that would waive their two-week quarantine, allowing for seamless entry and exit from Japan.

The agreed principles will apply in addition to the must-haves in tackling the coronavirus: mask wearing, two-meter social distancing, hand sanitizing, and ventilation.

Games don't hinge on vaccine

"All the parties recognize the grave importance of the coronavirus countermeasures and I expected there to be certain challenges", Tokyo 2020 CEO Muto Toshiro told reporters.

"But I think the talks have been a lot more fruitful than anything I ever imagined. Now we need to iron out the details of the principles we have agreed on".

Muto said future meetings will be held on a need-to basis given the fluidity of the global pandemic, and that costs hopefully will be crunched within the year.

He also stated that the protocol does not hinge on vaccination - not yet, anyway.

"This interim report has been put together on the premise that there will not be a vaccine", he said. "If vaccination becomes a realistic option, then we will start to think about formulating it into our plans".

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