Eugene Hoshiko / AFP via Getty Images
It looks like the Olympics are really going to happen, starting July 23 in Tokyo. But there are great challenges to organizing the games as the pandemic continues in a host city that is currently in a state of emergency and a country where a recent survey he found 80% of residents do not want the Olympics to be held this summer.
Other major events have been marred in recent weeks by positive cases of coronavirus, including the Eurovision song contest and the PGA tour. Multiple outbreaks in the NFL last season caused major headaches.
The pandemic has already delayed the start of the 2020 games by a year (although they will still be called Tokyo 2020). With competition now just weeks away, organizers face two tests: preventing the spread of COVID-19 from foreign visitors to residents of Japan, and keeping athletes healthy and virus-free so they can compete.
But the scope of the challenge is immense. Some 11,500 athletes are expected to travel to Japan to compete in the Games, in addition to a estimated 79,000 journalists, officials and staff who will also be present.
These are some of the rules that the organizers are implementing to prevent the games from turning into a calamity. Athletes who do not follow the rules, such as refusing to be tested for the virus, may be banned from competing and their credentials will be taken away.
We are focusing here on the rules for athletes, but others who travel from abroad for the Games as journalists, officials or otherwise have similar limitations.
Vaccines are available for athletes and delegations, but they are not mandatory.
The International Olympic Committee Announced Last month, Pfizer and BioNTech would donate doses of the coronavirus vaccine to athletes and country delegations ahead of their trip to Japan, to create a safer environment at the Games and protect Japanese residents from the virus.
Organizers are taking the risks into account and seeking the “best possible medical advice from public authorities,” IOC member Dick Pound told NPR. Morning edition In the past week.
“Nobody wants to play games where there is a higher risk of transmission” of COVID-19, he said.
The rules for athletes in games are dictated in a guide called The playbook.
The rules for other groups, such as journalists, staff, and foreign delegations are Ready in your own playbooks. The most recent versions of the guides were published in April; the next and final versions are expected later this month.
Getting vaccinated before traveling to Japan is recommended, but not required. The rules will apply equally to vaccinated and unvaccinated athletes.
Earlier, the IOC announced that it would purchase vaccines from China for the participants, but the IOC cleared up that countries that had not authorized Chinese vaccines would not administer them, including Japan.
Try early and often
Competitors from outside of Japan must be tested for coronavirus twice, on different days, within 96 hours before their flights to Japan. They will be retested upon arrival.
They are expected to download an app that will monitor their location and be used to track contacts, and to activate the app and location services when they land in Japan.
Athletes must be quarantined for three days after arrival. They will be allowed to engage in gaming-related activities during this time, provided they test negative every day and agree to stricter supervision by Tokyo 2020 staff.
Athletes will need to make daily reports of their temperature and any symptoms through a smartphone app. They can also be temperature checked each time they enter an Olympic Games venue and banned if the temperature rises above 99.5 degrees for the second time after a recovery period.
Athletes will be evaluated daily.
Athletes will be screened daily for the coronavirus through a rapid saliva antigen test. If the result is positive or unclear, a slower but more accurate PCR test will be performed using the same saliva sample. (To find out the differences between these tests, read this.)
If the athlete is confirmed positive for the virus, they will immediately be isolated and contacts will be followed. The playbook does not say whether the athlete would be automatically banned from competing.
What happens to those who are identified as a close contact of a confirmed positive will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but a negative result would be required to compete.
Dine alone in the Olympic Village
Athletes must stand two meters, or about six and a half feet – apart from others, except in situations like being on the field of play. Physical interactions including hugs, handshakes, and high-fives are discouraged, in a blow to classic sports gestures.
At mealtime, athletes should keep two meters from others or eat alone.
Athletes staying at the Olympic Village must eat there or at specially permitted places or places. Those staying elsewhere will only be able to eat at the catering facilities at the Games venues, their hotel restaurant or in their room via room service or food delivery.
Main movement restrictions
Playing tourist while in Japan, or doing much more than preparing and competing, is not allowed for athletes.
The playbook says that athletes can only leave their accommodation to go to the official venues of the Games and limited additional locations, as defined in the list of allowed destinations.
Athletes must wear masks most of the time.
Unless they are eating, drinking, sleeping, training or competing, athletes are expected to be masked.
Athletes must use dedicated Olympic vehicles to get around and can only use public transportation if it’s the only option, such as reaching remote locations.
Foreign media can be tracked by GPS
Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto said foreign media will likely be monitored via GPS to make sure they don’t go to places they are not allowed to go. according to The news from Japan.
Organizers have reduced the number of places where foreign journalists will stay, from 350 locations to 150, according to the news site, and they will be prevented from staying with local friends or other unregistered locations.
Foreign journalists could lose their credentials if they go to places where they do not report in advance.