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A task force of Olympic organisers and Japanese officials met for the second time to discuss possible measures that will take place for the safety of athletes and others involved at the postponed Tokyo Olympics. This list includes repeated COVID-19 testing and stricter control over movement.
Repeated COVID-19 tests
Foreign athletes and other participants are not required to undergo a two-week quarantine period upon arrival in Japan. However, there are plans to carry out virus testing frequently, including three days before leaving home, upon arrival and during their stay.
“Tests are one of the most important issues from the two perspectives of securing safety and a sense of security for athletes,” said Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshiro Muto at a press conference.
One foreseeable challenge, however, is the reliability and accuracy of pre-departure testing for every country.
Another suggestion made to reduce the risk of exposure and transmission of the virus is having athletes submit a plan of their activities in advance or have them check-in on their whereabouts on a “map app”.
The movement mapping is to be as least disruptive as possible and will allow athletes to continue training as necessary.
Within the Olympic villages, plans are in place to close off common spaces like lobbies, lounges, and hot spring baths. Other restrictions being kept in mind are also ways to minimise athletes’ contact with others, such as through avoiding public transport and introducing social distancing “pedestrian traffic lanes”.
Olympics still a maybe at this point
The COVID-19 pandemic forced a historic decision to cancel this year’s Games, with plans to postpone them to 23 July next year.
The virus, which as infected more than 31.3 million people and killed about 964,000 worldwide, has prompted criticism from many about the necessity of continuing the Games. However, newly elected Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is set on moving forward with the games.
Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike in a meeting with Prime Minister Suga yesterday shared that they both “hope to move forward with plans to host the 2020 Games.” The two are the latest in a string of government officials and organisers for the Tokyo Games who are trying to quell concerns over hosting a safe Olympics during a global pandemic.