The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has delayed a decision on the attendance of spectators the the Tokyo Games until June.
The details are contained in a joint statement with the IOC, International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020), the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Government of Japan.
There are only 86 days to go before the start of the Olympic Games and 118 days until the start of the Paralympic Games and the five parties have agreed on a list of measures which they say "place the highest priority on safety for the sake of all participants, including the athletes, and the Japanese public who will be playing host to the Games".
The measures include daily testing for athletes in Tokyo and strict minimising of contacts while they are also forbidden from using public transport.
The statement reads: "The COVID-19 countermeasures included in the Playbooks (rulebooks) published in February this year have since been reviewed and significantly updated in order to address the emergence of new mutant coronavirus strains and the evolving situation of the pandemic.
"New rules that have to be observed by everyone involved in the Games during their stay in Japan have been incorporated, and others updated, so that the Tokyo 2020 Games can be held safely."
The measures agreed by the five parties are then listed as follows:
- All participants are required to take two COVID-19 tests before their flight to Japan.
- In principle, athletes and all those in close proximity with athletes will be tested daily to minimise the risk of undetected positive cases that could transmit the virus. The dates and times will be set in line with the sports events and schedule.
- All other Games participants will be tested daily for three days after their arrival. After the first three days and throughout their stay, they will be tested regularly, based on the operational nature of their role and level of contact with athletes.
- All Games participants must, in principle, only follow the activities they have outlined in their activity plan. They must minimise contact within one metre of Games participants who have already been in Japan for more than 14 days, and Japanese residents.
- All Games participants must, in principle, exclusively use dedicated Games vehicles, and they are not allowed to use public transport.
- All Games participants must, in principle, eat only in the limited locations where COVID-19 countermeasures are in place, including catering facilities at Games venues, their accommodation's restaurant, and their rooms, using room service or food delivery.
- Close contacts are defined as those who have prolonged contact (for 15 minutes or more) with a person who has a confirmed positive COVID-19 test, within one metre, without wearing a face mask. This is particularly applicable when such contact happens in enclosed spaces such as hotel rooms or vehicles. Cases will be confirmed by the Japanese health authorities.
In March it was decided that no overseas spectators would be allowed to attend this summer's Olympic Games as, at the time, it was "highly unlikely" that entry to Japan would be guaranteed by the summer.
This week, Tokyo reported the highest amount of new Covid-19 cases since January and now the IOC have decided to delay their decision on the attendance of domestic spectators.
"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," adds the statement.
"This follows the significant decision in March, when the IOC and IPC were informed about the conclusion of the Japanese parties not to allow entry into Japan for overseas spectators for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 due to the prevailing worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.
"Meanwhile, the IOC, the IPC and Tokyo 2020 continue to work on optimising the number of participants attending the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.
"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.
"We are already entering the operational phase. All parties at today’s meeting renewed their full commitment to safe and secure Games for all participants and the Japanese people."