Tokyo Olympic Athletes to be Exempted from Virus Entry Bans

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The Japanese government has decided to set up a system to exempt athletes competing at next year’s Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games from entry restrictions currently placed on 159 countries and regions due to the novel coronavirus that forced the games’ postponement, sources familiar with the matter said yesterday.

The athletes will be expected to monitor their own health and test negative for the coronavirus within 72 hours of leaving their own country. They will be tested again upon entering Japan, and will have their movements monitored and restricted after arrival.

The local organizing committee and the Tokyo metropolitan government are expected to reach an agreement on establishing the system at their next meeting on Wednesday.
After imposing heavy restrictions on the entry of foreign nationals in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Japan has begun easing conditions for business travelers from a number of countries.

The government is looking at a similar system for athletes at the games next summer.
Athletes will be able to practice or compete in the 14-day quarantine period after arrival, but their movements will be limited to accommodations and venues specific to training and competing in their specific sports, in accordance with travel plans submitted to authorities in advance.

While they will basically be prohibited from taking public transport, they can catch commercial flights or bullet trains where required, provided they follow certain precautions to limit contact with the general public.

To ensure safety from the coronavirus, the organizers are also looking at establishing rules covering the movements and activities of all athletes, including those who have completed their 14-day quarantines.