Basic coronavirus testing plan drafted for Tokyo 2020 athletes

Three-way coordination meeting on COVID-19 countermeasures leaves nothing left to chance in securing athletes' safety during Games.

By Shintaro Kano

The second coordination meeting of COVID-19 countermeasures for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games was held on Wednesday (23 September), when Games organisers outlined the draft of a basic five-step testing protocol for athletes arriving from overseas.

Athletes were the chief talking point of the meeting at the Prime Minister's Office attended by the national and Tokyo metropolitan governments and the Tokyo 2020 organising committee as well as input from the country's foremost infection experts.

Tokyo 2020 CEO Muto Toshiro said maintaining the health and safety of the visiting athletes will be paramount to the success of next year's Games.

"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.

Tokyo 2020 CEO Muto Toshiro

"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".

The plan, which will be tabled during the two-day International Olympic Committee's Coordination Commission starting on Thursday, is for athletes to be first tested 72 hours within departure of their home country.

A second test will be conducted upon arrival at a Japanese airport and again before entering their host town or basecamp. They will then be tested at the door of the athletes village and also at the competition venues ahead of their respective events.

Japanese athletes will be similarly tested, less the tests during immigration.

The athletes will be under close supervision during the 23 July-8 August Games - very close.

They will be asked to record daily health checks and download contact tracing apps and prior to arriving in Japan, must submit a self-declaration form detailing their movement during their stay.

Athletes - as well as accompanying coaches, trainers, medical staff, etc - will be prohibited from using public transportation and must get around in official Games' vehicles only.

Violators of the above will likely face sanctions. Regulations for Japanese athletes will be discussed at future anti-coronavirus meetings, of which there will be three more by the end of November.

Conclusive countermeasures will be drawn in December, Muto has said.