Tokyo Olympics working on COVID-19 Measures

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Tokyo Olympic officials want the world to know they are working on measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic at next year’s games, even if they don’t know exactly what they will be.

Tokyo organisers showcased a few possible remedies yesterday, displaying various screening measures at the city’s Big Sight convention complex, the home of the media centre for the Olympics.

Most of it looked familiar, including hand sanitisers and people passing through scanning devices with guards wearing face shields at the other end.

One innovation involved a sticker placed on the wrist to measure body temperature in a few seconds.

It won’t be easy, or perfect.

Athletes around the globe have come down with COVID-19 despite precautions. Ten members of the Italian swim team reported positive for the virus on Tuesday, including world champions Simona Quadarella and Gabriele Detti. On the other hand, the NBA recently finished its season without a single positive test.

The International Olympic Committee has said that athletes testing positive at the Olympics are likely to be excluded, perhaps extinguishing years of training.

The Olympic numbers are huge: 11,000 athletes, and thousands of officials, judges, VIPs, volunteers, sponsors, media, and broadcasters. Add another 4,400 athletes for the Paralympics. Then inject the question of fans: Will there be any? Or will only the Japanese be allowed?

Finally, factor in the possibility that a vaccine will be ready when the games are to open on July 23, 2021. But should athletes be a priority? And should they be compelled to be vaccinated? And who pays for the vaccine?

Tokyo organizers and the IOC have said they are testing “many scenarios” and are unlikely to explain until early next year exactly how the Olympics can be held safely.

Their main job now is to convince skeptical sponsors and fans that the games will happen, allowing the IOC to collect billions of dollars from broadcasters and sponsors.

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