Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics organizers plan to test all athletes every 96-120 hours during the games in 2021. Athletes will also need to provide a negative coronavirus test taken less than 72 hours before landing in Japan.
The COVID-19 testing policy was part of the interim report released by the panel tasked with creating safety measures for the Tokyo Olympics after holding six meetings since September.
The protocol for current visitors to Japan requires a 14-day quarantine upon arrival.
The virus countermeasures at the athletes’ village has been one of the major concerns for the organizers of the Tokyo Olympics. The village can accommodate around 10,000 people during the weeks-long games, which begins on July 23, 2021.
In the report, they highlighted that a testing center would be set up in the village for in-competition testing.
Organisers will also be encouraging athletes to spend less time in Tokyo than they usually would.
“We want to be considerate to the athletes, so the village doesn’t get too dense,” Tokyo Olympics 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto told reporters after the talks.
Muto added that athletes need to go back home after their games or as soon as possible.
Aside from athletes and their delegation, Japan is also looking into admitting a large-scale number of visitors for the Games.
Olympics spectators from abroad need to download a contact-tracing smartphone app. They will also be mandated to report on their health, but will be permitted to use public transportation.
The Japanese government will make its final decision by spring next year whether to admit overseas fans. With the coronavirus situation changing rapidly, nobody can really determine how the world will look by next year.
Tokyo is hopeful that the Games will be go smoothly next year, following the development of vaccines against COVID-19. Britain already approved Pfizer’s vaccine for use earlier this week.
A successful vaccine will be a real game-changer for the Tokyo Olympics. But Muto stressed that Japan will go ahead with the Games with or without the vaccine.
“Regarding the vaccine, just recently we have started to see positive news but at the moment it is not available yet,” he said.
“What might happen, what could happen, it is unclear. So we are working under the assumption that the vaccine isn’t available.”