Olympics athletes won't have to isolate

·2-min read

Athletes arriving in Tokyo for the Olympic Games next year will be exempt from the 14-day isolation period Japan has imposed on anyone arriving from overseas to help stop the coronavirus spreading.

Olympic organisers said on Thursday details still need to be worked out but measures for athletes are likely to include coronavirus testing within 72 hours before arriving in Japan.

But they warned decisions on spectators from overseas have yet to be made, saying a 14-day quarantine was "impossible".

"Athletes, coaches and Games officials that are eligible for the Tokyo Games will be allowed to enter the country, provided significant measures are made before they get to Japan," Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto told a news conference.

He said a decision on foreign spectators would be made next year, depending on pandemic developments.

"By next spring, we will be coming up with a plan for spectators, including non-Japanese spectators," he said.

"It is impossible to set a 14-day quarantine period for foreign spectators, so tests before and upon arrival are needed."

Japan held several recent test events, including a four-nation gymnastics meet last weekend featuring 30 athletes from Japan, Russia, the United States and China - in which spectators were admitted, but these were limited to locals.

International Olympic Committee head Thomas Bach gave a "perfect 10" to the hosting of the event, the first multinational sporting event held in Japan since the postponement of the Games.

Bach will visit Japan between November 15 and 18 during which Muto said he expected details of coronavirus counter measures would be ironed out.

Asked whether cancellation would even be discussed during his upcoming visit, Bach replied simply: "No".

Meanwhile, Bach is open to the prospect of sourcing a supply of coronavirus vaccine doses to ensure the safe staging of the Tokyo Games - which were postponed by 12 months due to the global pandemic.

On Monday pharmaceuticals company Pfizer said that early results of a vaccine suggested it may be 90 per cent effective at preventing COVID-19.

However, Bach said the "first wave of vaccination must be for the people in need, for the high-risk groups, for the nurses, for doctors and everybody who is keeping our societies alive".