Coronavirus: Athletes to under go daily testing exercise at Tokyo Games

Tokyo Olympics organisers are eyeing next July as a start date for the postponed Games, Japanese media reported Sunday, following the historic decision to delay the event due to the coronavirus.

Organisers of the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics have confirmed all athletes will be tested for COVID-19 daily as part of coronavirus countermeasures set to be in operation at the Games.

Tokyo 2020, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) today unveiled the second version of the playbook for athletes and officials, which outline the rules participants at the Games must adhere to.

The daily saliva testing for athletes and all those with close proximity to competitors will “minimise the risk of undetected positive cases that could transmit the virus”, organisers said in a joint statement following a five-party meeting between Tokyo 2020, the IOC, IPC, Japanese Government and Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

The rules in the second edition playbook are more stringent than the first version, which said athletes would be tested at least once every four days.

Its release comes amid rising concern over the fate of the Games in recent weeks following a surge in COVID-19 infections in Japan and countries including India and Brazil.

Tokyo is among the Japanese prefectures under emergency measures to combat the spike in coronavirus cases, set to be in place until May 11.

Public opposition to the Olympic Games, scheduled to open on July 23, also remains high in Japan because of the global health crisis.

All participants at the Games will be required to take two COVID-19 tests within 96 hours before they fly to Japan, while officials, coaches and the media will be tested daily for three days after their arrival in the host country.

Athletes who test positive will be prevented from competing at the Games, as outlined in the first playbook in February, and have again been warned that a failure to comply with the measures could result in being stripped of their accreditation.

The IOC has vowed to “ensure no-one is excluded from the Games” because of false positives – where a test incorrectly shows someone has the virus.

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