The Olympic organizing committee has decided that the athletes competing in the Tokyo Olympics 2021 and Paralympics next summer will be required to take COVID-19 tests every 96-120 hours. They will also have to provide a negative test report, taken within 72 hours of landing in Japan for the mega event.
According to the interim report issued by the organizing committee, the Japanese government and the Tokyo Metropolitan government, the tests will be taken at regular intervals even if the athletes do not show symptoms. Following the six meetings it has held since September, the panel has taken this decision to prevent the spread of infections.
Government to decide on allowing foreign spectators at Tokyo Olympics
Japan has handled the pandemic better than most countries where the cases have surged highly, with 98% of the infected people getting recovered. The nation has also hosted sporting events like the Japan baseball series that saw about 19,000 fans at the stadium in Fukuoka. Tokyo also hosted a one-day gymnastics meet where around 2,000 fans assembled at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium under bio-secure conditions.
With more than 15,000 athletes expected at the Tokyo Olympics, it is still unclear if foreign spectators and other personnel from abroad will be allowed to be a part of the event. However, the panel said that the government will make the final decision by spring of next year. Exempting fans from the 14-day quarantine requirement would also be considered.
While speaking to the reporters, Tokyo Olympics 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto expressed that the committee will be considerate to the athletes.
"We want to be considerate to the athletes, so the village doesn't get too dense. After the Games are finished, we want the athletes to go back home as early as possible.”
Muto also said that the panel has still not decided about the COVID-19 vaccine being made compulsory for participation. They are still considering a scenario where it might be unavailable by the time the Tokyo Olympics gets under way.
"Regarding the vaccine, just recently we have started to see positive news but at the moment it is not available yet. What might happen, what could happen, it is unclear... so we are working under the assumption that the vaccine isn’t available," Muto said.
The officials have revealed that the Tokyo Games will host 11,000 Olympic athletes and 4,400 Paralympic athletes, accompanied by tens of thousands of officials, VIPs, judges, sponsors, media, and broadcasters.