IOC's Coates: Anti-Covid measures at Tokyo to be decided by end of year
Any "counter-measures" required to hold next year's Tokyo Olympic Games in a world still enduring the effects of the coronavirus pandemic will be decided by the end of 2020, according to John Coates, a senior member of the International Olympic Committee.
Coates, who heads up the IOC’s coordination commission for the Tokyo games, has told Australian media that the games’ organisers have been “throwing whatever resources are necessary” at ensuring the event can go ahead next summer.
Coates told reporters in Sydney: “Our decision at the moment is to go ahead [with the games]… What we’re waiting for is to decide what counter-measures we need to go ahead with, to proceed depending on what stage Covid is at.”
He added that "by the time we get to the end of the year, we’ll make an assessment on what counter-measures we’ll need to apply… The extent of the ceremonies, the extent of the crowd participation, any necessary quarantine when they arrive in Japan. All of those things."
The Tokyo Olympics were originally scheduled to take place between 24 July and 9 August this year, but were postponed by 12 months in March as the pandemic, which started in east Asia, spread worldwide.
Earlier this month, Thomas Bach, the IOC’s president, claimed it was too early to set deadlines for hosting plans for the Tokyo Games, but insisted they could be held in “a safe environment.”
Bach said of the arrangements for Tokyo 2020: “The situation is changing almost day by day. If you look at the different travel restrictions around the world, for instance, that is one of the examples which directly has an impact on our planning.”
He added: “It’s just too early to give a concrete answer on what will be the final scenario and the final approach. The only thing we can say is it will be about offering a safe environment for all participants.”
Seiko Hashimoto, Japan’s Olympic minister, said recently that the Olympics “must be held at any cost”, and Coates stated earlier in September that the games would be held “with or without Covid.”