The race against time to save the Tokyo games

The race against time to save the Tokyo games
The race against time to save the Tokyo games

AGI – Less than three months to save the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. It is a race against time because the Covid-19 pandemic, which has already caused the great sporting event to be postponed by twelve months, in these days in some cities of the land of the Rising Sun – including Tokyo – is recording worrying data despite the state of emergency in progress. In the meantime, several nations have decided to vaccinate their delegations.

On 23 July the Games of the XXXII Olympiad will take place. It will be a very different edition from those experienced in the past. The spectators who color stadiums, arenas and Olympic parks will most likely not be there: it would be a sad historic first time since 1896. The decision whether to admit a local public contingent is continually postponed: now we are talking about the second fortnight in June. On the other hand, the ban on entry to Japan for foreign tourists is already certain.

A daily challenge

Tokyo 2020, both for the Olympics and the subsequent Paralympics (starting on August 24), will be a daily challenge against the coronavirus. To the concept of ‘bubbles’, will be added continuous swabs to athletes and anyone in close contact with them. These days in the Japanese capital, in particular at the Aquatics Center, the anti-contagion measures taking advantage of the World Cup of diving. An event, that of diving, which involves 225 athletes from 46 nations and above all the first to welcome athletes from abroad since the pandemic broke out last year.

Although the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 have stated that vaccination for athletes will not be mandatory to compete, several countries, including Italy, have started the vaccination campaign. Lithuania, Hungary, Serbia, Israel, Zambia and South Korea are already vaccinating their Olympic and Paralympic delegations, while Australia, Mexico and New Zealand have announced that a priority list will be drawn up for those going to the Olympics. Germany, which initially rejected early vaccination, announced in recent days that around 1100 athletes, coaches and other staff who will represent it at the Olympics (800 people) and Paralympics (300) will be vaccinated.

You are infected with the Olympic torch team

The list of Olympic Committees that will launch the vaccination campaign for their athletes in the coming weeks seems to be destined to grow. Meanwhile, along the way to Tokyo of the Olympic torch relay, six people from the organization tested positive for the coronavirus in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwest. The six infected were part of the team assigned to control the traffic during the transit of the torch.

International Olympic Committee, International Paralympic Committee, Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Government of Japan have agreed a new package of measures to ensure the safety of the participants in the Games. The second version of the ‘Playbook’ – a third is scheduled for June – provides that all participants in the Games must perform two ‘negative’ swabs before entering Japanese territory. Athletes and anyone in close contact with them will be tested daily to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus.

The other participants will be tested daily for three days after their arrival in Japan and, for the duration of their stay, will be tested according to the operational nature of their role and the frequency of their contact with the athletes. Furthermore, accredited persons will not be allowed to use public transport (therefore taxis, subways and city buses) and will only have to eat where there are health control measures.

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