Olympics organisers unveiled the first of a series of “playbooks” aimed at holding the coronavirus-postponed Tokyo Games safely, warning that rule breakers could be kicked out. The 32-page document pointed out that sports officials will be allowed to skip quarantine as long as they monitor their health for 14 days after arriving in Japan. During those 14 days, however, the officials will not be allowed to travel outside the Games bubble or watch events as a spectator. The playbooks are aimed at building confidence that the Games can go ahead even if the pandemic is not under control by the opening ceremony on 23 July. The rules are set to be updated in April and again in June.
The first of the guides is aimed at sports officials, with versions for athletes, fans, media and others to follow in the coming weeks. Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi of the International Olympic Committee stated that they have learned a lot from the best practices of other events. He mentioned that it is the mantra of all of members of the Olympic Committee that the Games have to be safe, for each stakeholder group, for each participant as such it is a question of responsibility.
Officials will be subject to a series of rules during their stay in Japan, including mask-wearing, complying with contact tracing and staying within designated areas. They will have to present a detailed itinerary of their planned movements for their first 14 days in Japan and stick closely to it on arrival. And they will have to monitor and record their health for two weeks before going to Tokyo. Details on rules for athletes were still being finalised, but officials said they would be tested for Covid-19 at least every four days, and would be tested before leaving their country and again on arrival in Japan.
The guide warns rule breakers will face consequences that may have an impact on participation at the Games, with repeated or serious failures potentially leading to offenders being kicked out. These Games in many respects will be different as there will be a number of constraints and conditions that the participants will have to respect and follow, which will have an impact on their experience, particularly when it comes to social aspects.
Doubts about the Games have grown as countries have been forced to re-enter lockdowns, with large parts of Japan currently under a state of emergency. Japan’s government approved a month-long extension of its state of emergency, with measures now running through 7 March in parts of the country. Tighter border restrictions imposed after infections surged have already forced the postponement of some sporting fixtures in Japan, including this year’s first Olympic test event, an artistic swimming qualifier that was scheduled for March. The nationwide Olympic torch relay is still due to begin on 25 March. Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori said that the Games would go ahead this summer however the coronavirus evolves, brushing aside doubts about the event. TW