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Olympic Officials Unveil Rules on Masks, Singing, Transport for COVID-19 Games

2021-02-03 14:03:34

Olympic officials on Wednesday unveiled the first of many COVID-19 rules for the Games in Tokyo this summer, banning singing and singing at events and requiring participants to “ always '' wearing masks, except while eating, sleeping, or outdoors.

The measures, which also include rules forbidding officials and personnel of international federations from using public transportation without permission, are unlikely to provide comfort to a wary Japanese public increasingly opposed to organizing the Games during a global pandemic.

Officials acknowledged that the Tokyo Summer Olympics was 'different' would be than all previous Olympics, but reiterated that they could keep the postponed event safe this year.

"There will be a number of restrictions and conditions that the participants will have to respect and follow that will impact their experience, especially when it comes to the social aspect of what the Olympics can be," said Pierre Ducrey, the director Operations Olympic Games at the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The Tokyo Olympics were postponed by a year due to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic and are expected to start in July.

New rules in a & # 39; scenario & # 39; published jointly by the Tokyo Olympic organizers, the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee range from regular hand washing protocols to disinfecting dining tables after dinner. )

Polls show public caution

Delegations and staff will also need to appoint a COVID-19 liaison officer who will ensure that participants follow the guidelines. Serious violations of the virus rules could lead to exclusion from the Games, the playbook said.

Officials said the rules unveiled Wednesday will apply to delegates from international federations participating in the Games, adding that they would publish updated guidelines in April, with more details on testing and isolation and more specific guidelines for athletes.

Japan has outperformed most other advanced economies in the fight against the coronavirus, killing fewer than 6,000 to date. But new infections in Japan rose to record highs in early January, sparking a state of emergency in Tokyo and some other areas. The government extended the emergency in most of those places on Tuesday.

Nearly 80 percent of the public is against holding the Olympics as scheduled this year, according to recent polls, concerned that an influx of athletes will further spread the virus.

A medical association representing doctors in Tokyo fighting the coronavirus told Reuters this week that medical staff would not have the time to volunteer at the Olympics because they were under too much pressure to deal with the third wave. of the pandemic.

The country, which is the last of the Group of Seven Advanced Industrialized Countries to begin vaccinating its population, will begin its vaccination campaign later this month, some of which are concerned that medical resources will expand further.

When asked about such concerns, an official from the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee said it was important to strike a balance between supporting the local medical system and organizing the Games.

(Additional reporting by Ju-min Park; writing by Ju-min Park and Mari Saito; edited by Toby Chopra and Alex Richardson)

Top photo: The Olympic symbol is being reinstalled after being removed for maintenance prior to the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the Odaiba section on Tuesday December 1, 2020 in Tokyo. (AP Photo / Eugene Hoshiko)

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