Olympics: 1st COVID-19 playbook released for Tokyo Games’ participants

Feb 04 , 2021. 10 hours ago – 23:42 KYODO NEWS

TOKYO – The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics organizing committee released its first playbook Wednesday on coronavirus countermeasures for participants at this summer’s games in an attempt to ensure safe operations.

The playbooks, drawn up on the assumption that the pandemic is not contained by the summer, give advance notice of the infection-prevention regulations to help with thorough compliance by participants.

Participants will need to be tested two weeks before departure, upon departure and upon arrival. While in Japan, participants should not use public transport while avoiding social interaction. They will also need to take special precautions while monitoring their health and undergoing periodic testing.

“In cases of a breach there could be measures taken,” said Christophe Dubi, the IOC Olympic Games executive director. “We have a disciplinary commission. If we have to, we will activate the commission. We don’t anticipate too many breaches.”

Repeated or serious failures to comply, the playbook states, could cause individuals to lose their accreditation.

The first playbook released is for international federations and technical officials. Those for media, athletes and team officials will also be released in the coming weeks with each to be updated with more details in April and June after further study and feedback from the different stakeholders.

“We each have our part to play. That’s why these playbooks have been created,” said Dubi, emphasizing that the health and safety of everyone at the games is their “top priority.”

“We are providing the main directions at this stage, but naturally don’t have all the final details yet,” he said.

The organizing committee, the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee have discussed the contents and they will be updated once decisions are made on issues such as whether to admit spectators.

The World Health Organization provided advice, while the playbooks also drew on experience from sports events held so far during the pandemic.

In addition to observing best practices to prevent transmission, including mask wearing and hand washing, participants will be asked to create activity plans and stick to them.

Should spectators be allowed into venues, singing and chanting will not be permitted.

A smartphone application tracing individuals’ whereabouts will also have to be downloaded so they can be tracked in case they test positive and need to be quarantined.

During Japan’s current state of emergency through March 7, nonresident foreign nationals are prohibited entry, while a Kyodo News poll in early January had over 80 percent favoring either cancelation or another postponement of this summer’s games.

There has been public criticism of staging the games with Japan’s health care system under strain amid a surge in infections, and Dubi acknowledged the need to win public support.

“We owe it…to the Japanese public (with) what we are doing as a responsible organization because obviously we want to be as good citizens as we can coming into Japan,” Dubi said. “So it’s a situation in which you have no passengers. Everybody has a contribution (to make) in this.”

“On our side, it is the responsibility to inform everyone about every behavior that is expected, everything that has to be done…but also inform the Japanese people about everything we do because it’s by reassuring everyone that we can create this safe environment.”

The playbook is the first of its kind at the Olympics, according to the organizers, and was based on the interim report produced in December by the government-led panel which discussed coronavirus countermeasures at the Tokyo Games over several meetings last year.

Cr.KYODO NEWS