Violators of Games virus rules to face exclusion, fines

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The National Stadium in Tokyo

Athletes and others involved in the Tokyo Olympics who violate rules to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus could face exclusion from the Games or fines, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned from sources involved in the Games.

Details of strict measures the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will have at its disposal will be included in the final version of the Playbook, a set of guidelines on coronavirus measures for athletes and others that is due to be released as early as next week.

Athletes and staff members will only be allowed to travel between their lodgings, training facilities and stadiums in principle. Members of the IOC and foreign media organizations will only be allowed to visit approved locations after submitting activity plans for the first 14 days of their stay in Japan.

Visitors who go on unsanctioned trips to shopping districts and tourist spots, or refuse to undergo virus tests will face punishment. Failure to wear masks or to practice social distancing will also result in warnings or sanctions.

Anyone who observes a violation can report it to the Games organizing committee or representatives of each country.

The information received will be shared with an investigation team that includes IOC officials, and the details will be confirmed by checking the Global Positioning System (GPS) history of the smartphones used by the alleged violators, among other means.

Possible sanctions for violations include withdrawal of accreditation, disqualification and exclusion from the Games, as well as a fine.

People who have been on unsanctioned trips might be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days or ordered to leave the country.

Games staff and others will be tested daily for the first three days of their stay in Japan. The frequency of testing thereafter will be specified in the Playbook.

Team staff who enter the athletes’ village, Games officials such as referees and photographers who work at Games venues will continue to be tested daily from the fourth day.

People who might come into contact with athletes multiple times — such as IOC members, media personnel and bus drivers — will be tested at least once every four days. People with limited contact with athletes, such as volunteers, will be tested once every seven days.

The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the IOC and others released the first version of the Playbook in February and revised it in April.

The final version will include strict sanctions for violations and detailed testing rules in light of persistent concerns among the public about the risk of the virus spreading during the Games.