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28 April 2021

Athletes to receive daily coronavirus tests during Tokyo Games

28 April 2021

Athletes can expect daily coronavirus tests at this summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games while a decision on capacity at venues will be taken in June, Tokyo 2020 organisers have said.

The Japanese capital has re-entered a state of emergency until at least May 11 owing to a rise in coronavirus infections, and on Wednesday updated guidance to athletes and other Games participants – called playbooks – was published.

Organisers have already opted to bar overseas spectators but a decision on how many – if any – local fans can attend will now come only a month before the Games are scheduled to start.

“As we look into the evolving situation with the domestic infections status involving new strains, we have agreed that a decision regarding spectator capacity at the Olympic and Paralympic venues will be made in June, in line with the government’s general guidance concerning the upper limit of spectator capacity in sports events,” a joint statement from the local organising committee, the International Olympic and Paralympic Committees and the metropolitan and national government read.

The athletes’ playbook advises that they will, in principle, be tested for Covid-19 on a daily basis “to minimise the risk of undetected positive cases that could transmit the virus”.

All other Games participants will be tested for the first three days after their arrival in Japan and “regularly” thereafter, with the frequency determined by their level of close proximity to athletes.

We are confident that compliance with these regulations will ensure the safety and security of athletes, Games officials and spectators.

All participants are required to take two tests before flying to Japan, organisers said.

Games participants are urged not to deviate from their activity plan. They are advised to minimise contact within one metre of any Games participants who have already been in Japan for more than 14 days and local residents, the five-party statement said.

They must also exclusively use dedicated Games vehicles and refrain from using any other form of public or private transport.

Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto pictured at Wednesday's five-party meeting, with her IOC counterpart Thomas Bach joining remotely (AP)

Food should only be eaten in catering facilities at Games venues, the participants’ accommodation or in their rooms using room service or an outside delivery.

The initial playbooks for non-athlete Games participants were published in February, and a third version will be published in June, organisers said.

“We are confident that compliance with these regulations will ensure the safety and security of athletes, Games officials and spectators, as well as the people of Tokyo, other host locations and Japan,” the statement said.

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