Olympicc and Paralympic athletes will be tested twice for Covid 19 prior to their departure in July and August, and then daily while they are at the Games.

This four fold increase in the number of tests is part of the updated playbook for athletes and officials published yesterday.

Those in close proximity to the athletes will have a similar testing regime, adding to the complexity of what will be a challenging environment in which to give of their best.

“Tokyo and Japan have accepted the unprecedented challenge of organising the first postponed Olympic and Paralympic Games in history,”said IOC President Thomas Bach.

“We thank them for their great work in this respect and, as partners, we understand the great responsibility that everyone attending the Games must accept so that all participants and the Japanese population remain safe. This is why we have created the Playbooks, based on science and the best medical and event expertise available to us.”

“Providing more details about the operations that stakeholders can expect at Games time, we have also remained flexible to the evolving global situation, combining numerous countermeasures to create the safest possible environment.”

“Increased testing for athletes and stakeholders, before and during the Games, is one important example. We’re also encouraged by the growing number of vaccinations being administered throughout the world. These tools will only work, however, if everyone shows solidarity and follows the guidelines. This is why those violating the rules can expect to be strictly dealt with in Tokyo. This is our commitment to the people of Tokyo and Japan, who are so kindly welcoming us to their city and country this summer.”

The accelerated roll out and access to vaccines here will give a greater possibility that athletes will be seen as a special case for vaccination, particularly given the availability now of single dose vaccines.

It seems to be the case that more Olympic teams are being vaccinated, including some who are travelling to other countries to get it.

Team Ireland and Team GB are among the countries who said they would not be seeking any special treatment but growing concerns within Japan suggest it may be coming closer that a vaccination, while maybe not obligatory, will certainly be the best option.

That will always be the choice of the athlete but with teams and groups that will likely be around the 200 mark combined, there has to be some thought given to offering the vaccine, given the special circumstances around their participating for their country on the world’s biggest stage.

It has to be hoped that if 450,000 vaccinations are going to be delivered each week in the coming weeks, that some leeway could be found.

“The COVID-19 countermeasures included in the first edition of the Playbooks, published in February 2021 have been reviewed and significantly updated in order to address the evolving situation of the pandemic,” said Tokyo 2020 President Hashimoto Seiko.

“It is important that all stakeholders fully understand these rules, and that each and every one arrives in Japan with the understanding that their cooperation is critical to the success of the Games. We will hold online briefings for each of our stakeholder groups to ensure clear and comprehensive communication on these points.”

COVID-19 Liaison Officers, familiar to anyone involved in the return of sport here, will have to be appointed by each stakeholder, who will work very closely with Tokyo 2020 and Japanese health authorities. They will receive extensive training to enable them to play a key role throughout the Games, providing an essential support network for their delegation.


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