By Reon Janse van Rensburg
Athletes participating in the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan this year, finally have some clarity about the Covid-19 protocols they will encounter during the Games in about 80 days, after the organisers announced a list, which provides more clarity. about what athletes can expect.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020), the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Japanese Government met on 28 April 2021, after agreeing upon the respective rules that need to exist for hosting a safe event, and issued a joint statement stipulating the rules that each athlete and team member will have to adhere to during the Games.
According to the statement, the five parties involved will implement all possible countermeasures and give safety the highest priority for the sake of all participants, including the athletes and the Japanese public who will be hosting the Games.
The measures published in the rulebook in February this year have since been revised and significantly new information has been incorporated to address the emergence of new mutations of the coronavirus strains and the evolving situation of the pandemic.
There are new rules that all attendees involved in the Games, during their stay in Japan, must strictly adhere to, in order to ensure that the Tokyo 2020 Games can be hosted safely.
The most important measures appear in the second edition of the rulebook. The new rules are set out as follows:
- All participants are expected to take two Covid tests before flying to Japan.
- In principle, athletes and everyone in the vicinity of athletes will be tested daily to reduce the risk of unmarked positive cases that can transmit the virus. The dates and times will match the sporting events and schedules of athletes.
- All participants in the Games will be tested daily for three days after their arrival. After the first three days and throughout the entire period of their stay, they will be tested regularly based on the operational nature of their role and level of contact with athletes.
- Participants in all sports should in principle only follow or attend the activities that they have set out in their activity plan. They must reduce contact and maintain a social distance of one meter from other participants who have been in Japan for more than 14 days and from Japanese residents.
- In principle, all participants in the Games must use the exclusively assigned transport that is only used for participants in the Games. Public transport may not be used at all.
- All participants may only eat in specifically allocated areas where strict Covid-19 measures apply, including catering facilities at specific Games venues, the restaurant at their accommodation and their rooms by using room service or food delivery.
- Close contact is defined as those who were in contact with a person closer than one metre for longer than 15 minutes without wearing a mask. Especially when such contact takes place in hotel rooms or vehicles. Cases will be confirmed by the Japanese health authorities.
A third version of the rulebook is expected to be published in June, which will be further updated with the latest scientific developments in mind.
According to the statement, the authorities are investigating the evolving situation with the status of local infections that include new strains or mutations. It was agreed that a decision on the spectator capacity of each venue would be made in June. This follows the decision in March this year where authorities have decided not to receive any travellers from other countries who want to attend the Games due to the prevailing global Covid-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, the various parties involved in arranging the Games are working on plans to optimise the number of attendees at the Games.
“We are confident that compliance with these regulations will ensure the safety and security of athletes, Games officials, and spectators, as well as the people of Tokyo, other host locations and Japan.” –The International Olympic Committee
JOINT STATEMENT BY THE IOC, IPC, TOKYO 2020, TOKYO METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT AND THE GOVERNMENT OF JAPAN – https://www.olympic.org/news/joint-statement-by-the-ioc-ipc-tokyo-2020-tokyo-metropolitan-government-and-the-government-of-japan