The number speaks volumes. In its own way, it sums it all up. On Wednesday, April 28th, the Tokyo Games Organising Committee unveiled the second version of its “playbook” for use by athletes and delegation officials. The practical guide has 60 pages. Its first version, published last February, displayed half of it.
In two months, the list of health measures prepared by the Japanese organisers has therefore doubled in size. Anything but a surprise. It only hugs the exponential curve of a pandemic that still shows no signs of slowing down.
No more measurements, then. But, above all, stronger constraints. With, for the offenders, a solid battalion of sanctions.
– All participants in the Tokyo Games will have to undergo two COVID-19 tests within 96 hours before leaving their country. They will be tested again on arrival in Japan, regardless of their destination airport. In the first version of the “playbook”, only one test was planned before boarding the plane, to be carried out within 72 hours before departure.
– Once there, the athletes and the members of the delegations will not be subjected to a quarantine in due form. They will be able to train from the day they arrive. But they will be tested daily. Their close supervision (coaches, technicians, medical staff, etc.) will be subject to the same regime. The dates and times of the controls will be established according to the calendar of sporting events.
– All other Games participants will be tested daily during the first three days of their presence in Japan. After this period, they will be checked regularly, depending on the operational nature of their role and the frequency of their contact with the athletes.
– All accredited persons must, in principle, only use official vehicles. They will be prohibited from using public transport for the first 14 days of their stay in Japan.
– Same story for meals. Participants will have to eat in places where measures to fight COVID-19 have been put in place. Clearly, in the cafeterias of Olympic venues (athletes’ village, press centers), in their hotel restaurant or their room, using room service or meal delivery.
– Finally, the participants in the Games must provide information on their activities and travel arrangements for the first 14 days of their presence in Japan. They will also need to download and use a tracking application. Athletes will have to commit in writing, via a “promise”, to follow the health rules detailed in their “playbook”.
Clarification: the health measures unveiled Wednesday, April 28th, concern all of the 10 500 athletes and their supervision. They do not provide a preferential treatment for competitors who have been vaccinated before their trip to Japan. They will apply according to the same principles to those selected who have chosen to stay outside the athletes’ village.
“This new version takes into account the most recent scientific data and expertise in public health“, explains Christophe Dubi, Director of the Olympic Games at the IOC. “It also draws on the many lessons we have learned from other international sporting events organised since the onset of the health crisis”.
Toshiro Muto, the managing director of the organising committee, warns: “In the event that the written promise is not kept, we have provided for penalties and sanctions”. Their nature has not been disclosed, but there have been reports of the withdrawal of accreditation and possibly expulsion from the Games.
“We will strictly enforce these rules and ensure that all participants fully comply with them“, Bach said. “If the situation demands it, we will be ready to take even stricter measures”.
The second versions of the other practical guides will be published respectively on April 30th for representatives of international federations, broadcasters, the press and partners, then in the week of May 3rd for the Olympic family and Games staff.