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Stricter guidelines for Games training camps to be adopted

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TOKYO - Government guidelines for local authorities that host foreign athletes will be revised to strengthen measures against COVID-19, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

The new guidelines are expected to stipulate that if a member of a foreign delegation for the Tokyo Olympics or Paralympics is found during their stay in Japan to be infected, all other members staying together -- including athletes and coaches -- will be quarantined and they will be required to suspend their training.

The government will soon announce the revised guidelines to local governments that will host foreign delegations.

According to the draft guidelines, if even one athlete is infected, all members of a foreign delegation will be quarantined in facilities such as hotel rooms. They will not be allowed to resume their activities until it is confirmed that they have not had close contact with the infected person, and that they have tested negative for COVID-19.

To prevent the virus from spreading to local communities where athletes are training, the guidelines will call on foreign delegations to monitor members' behavior and health from 14 days before they arrive in Japan.

The guidelines will further ask delegation members to refrain from talking during meals when they eat in groups, and urge local government officials to avoid close contact with them.

If a delegation member tests positive during quarantine checks at an airport, members who are suspected of having close contact with the infected person will be identified at the airport based on where they sat on the plane and who they were in close contact with before entering Japan. They will travel to their host municipality on a separate bus.

Delegation members will use buses with toilets and refrain from visiting service areas along roads where they may come into contact with local people. In principle, they will be required to wear masks on buses, and curtains or other partitions will be placed inside the buses. Drivers and local government officials who accompany delegation members will not share toilets with them.

The government presented the current guidelines to local authorities in November last year. However, officials recognized the need to strengthen measures against COVID-19 after a member of Uganda's Olympic delegation, which arrived in Japan earlier this month, tested positive at the airport. Infection spread as a result of allowing the delegation to move without confirming who had been in close contact with the infected person.

As of Tuesday, 530 local governments had registered to accept foreign delegations from 184 countries and regions. However, a senior official of the Cabinet Secretariat said foreign athletes have often gone directly to the athletes village in Tokyo, without visiting their host towns.

As a result of the spread of virus variants, a growing number of local governments are deciding to call off their hosting of foreign athletes, the official said.

Published : July 01, 2021

By : Syndication Washington Post, Japan News