Britain’s Olympians may be cooped up in basecamp, village and venue but won’t have to quarantine as organisers’ plans for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games trickle out, writes Tom Harle.
Athletes will be tested for COVID-19 four times before they reach their competition venue under a five-step protocol, a crucial part of draft measures reported by Yomiuri newspaper.
As anticipated, the Tokyo Local Organising Committee seem to have been successful in lobbying Japanese government to waive a two-week quarantine period for athletes entering.
But Tokyo’s centre and the rest of Japan could be out of bounds for Team GB stars, who under plans would sign a self-declaration form detailing their movements and be limited to certain locations.
“Getting the athletes smoothly into the country is the very first step to these Games and as the organising committee, we ask that that is ensured”, Muto said during a press conference.
“It will mean making an exception at immigration and for that to happen, athletes will have to abide by certain conditions.
“We will need to communicate well with the NOCs, NPCs to gain their understanding and cooperation on this matter”.
Athletes can expect to be tested 72 hours before leaving Britain, on arrival at Japanese airports, on arrival at their Keio University base and at the door of the Athletes Village.
They will also be tested at their competition venue.
Under plans, athletes would be banned from using public transport and would use official cars only, with breaches of guidelines punished by unnamed ‘sanctions’.
IOC President Thomas Bach has underlined the importance of rapid testing to safe staging of the Games twice inside a fortnight.
“There are a number of so-called rapid tests already on the market or under development and they give us an important additional tool to ensure a safe environment,” Bach said in an open letter.
“Taken together, the developments in testing and in vaccines will greatly facilitate the safe organisation of sports events.
“We should all take the timing of the availability of these new tools into consideration and we have added a scenario where the IOC fully exploit the potential of testing and vaccines.”
Tests offering accurate results within 90 minutes have gained traction in the UK with a 15-minute equivalent under development.
Bach has gradually joined Games minister Seiko Hashimoto and Coordination Commission chair John Coates in offering certainty around 2021, amid grave concerns from domestic sponsors.
The Coordination Commission will meet tomorrow and will do so again three times before the end of November, with confirmed countermeasures expected in December.