Athletes and officials will not be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in order to take part in this year’s Tokyo Games, organizers announced on Wednesday.
It comes as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) published its first version of the Tokyo 2020 “Playbook” which outlines the rules and safety regulations that will be put in place later this year.
Whilst not a prerequisite to participation, the IOC said it would still encourage and assist individual countries to vaccinate their teams ahead of arrival.
“This is to contribute to the safe environment of the Games, but also out of respect for the Japanese people, who should be confident that everything is being done to protect not only the participants, but also the Japanese people themselves,” organizers said.
The “Playbook” says everyone attending the Games will be required to download the Japanese government’s contact tracing app and must outline every activity they intend on doing during their first 14 days in the country.
Athletes will be encouraged to minimize social activity in Japan and must provide a list of all those they expect to have close contact with.
Additionally, athletes and officials will be asked not to use public transport without permission and face masks must be worn at “all times” except when eating, sleeping or when in an open outdoor space.
The IOC said hugging, high-fives and handshakes should be avoided and spectators should refrain from singing or chanting their support.
Failure to comply with the rules and regulations could lead to athletes being barred from competition.
‘We each have our part to play’
In addition, there will be temperature checks whenever entering an event and athletes should expect regular testing throughout their time in the country.
Everyone flying to Japan must provide proof of a negative test within 72 hours of flying. Anyone displaying symptoms within 14 days of flying must not travel.
“The health and safety of everyone at the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 are our top priority,” said IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi.
“We each have our part to play. That’s why these Playbooks have been created — with the rules that will make each and every one of us a sound, safe and active contributor to the Games.”
It is still unclear whether fans will be allowed to watch the Games, with confirmed Covid-19 cases still surging across the world.
On Wednesday, organizers said a decision on the number of overall spectators permitted within stadiums and from outside of Japan will be made by spring.
Two updated further versions of the “Playbook” are expected to be published in April and June.
The Games are currently scheduled to take place from July 23 to August 8, 2021. The Paralympics are scheduled to take place August 24 to September 5, 2021.