— Sports

Tokyo Olympic rules ‘playbook’ update to feature daily testing, no quarantine

TOKYO — Tokyo Olympic organizers and the IOC unveil new plans this week to explain how 15,400 Olympic and Paralympic athletes can compete in Japan when the games open in three months during a pandemic. The rollout of the second edition of the “Playbooks” — an IOC guidebook explaining how the matches can be pulled off — comes as Tokyo, Osaka, and several other areas have been placed under the third state of emergency as coronavirus cases surge.

Japan, which has attributed about 10,000 deaths to COVID-19, has also been slow with local vaccination, with about 1% so far getting shots.

Organizers are expected to announce daily testing for athletes. They are also likely to drop a 14-day quarantine requirement, allowing athletes to train when they arrive. Athletes must stay within a “bubble” consisting of the Olympic Village on Tokyo Bay and venues and training areas.

Tokyo Olympic

According to unnamed sources, Japan‘s Kyodo news agency said athletes and staff would have to be tested twice within 96 hours before leaving home. They will also be tested upon arrival in Japan. The Playbook for athletes will be updated on Wednesday, with Playbooks for media and others unveiled on Friday. The first edition, published in February, was vague, and there are doubts the latest editions will offer much specificity.

A final edition of all Playbooks will be published in June.

Resistance to the Olympics in Japan is still running high, with 70-80% opposed in recent polls. Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the Tokyo organizing committee, said Monday that 500 nurses were being requested for the games. “Of course, this is on the premise that this won’t hurt the local health care system,” Muto said, though he did not indicate if any research had been done in this area. Fans from abroad have already been barred, and organizers have put off a decision on having any fans at all at Olympic venues until as late as June.

IOC President Thomas Bach last week said his plans to meet the torch relay in Hiroshima on May 17-18 are still not confirmed. Bach’s arrival would be just days after the latest state of emergency ends on May 11. Opposition lawmakers in Japan‘s national legislature have suggested Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga schedule the state of emergency to accommodate Bach. Taro Kono, the minister in charge of vaccination in Japan, said earlier this month that empty venues were a possible option.

The torch relay, which started on March 25 in Fukushima in northeastern Japan, has been detoured several times this month and was forced to run in an empty city park in Osaka. It was also rerouted to Matsuyama City, Ehime prefecture. The government and the International Olympic Committee have said the precautions are specifically for Japan‘s “Golden Week” holiday, which begins on Thursday.

It will be banned altogether this weekend on the Okinawa island of Miyakojima. The small island has only one hospital. The relay will run through other locations in Okinawa.

The heavily sponsored relay is a caravan of over a dozen cars and other vehicles festooned with advertising from significant sponsors like Coca-Cola and Toyota. There are 10,000 in total — typically bringing up the rear amid blaring music and DJ banter.

The relay is scheduled to end at the National Stadium on July 23 for the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games.

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Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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