Olympic handbook details restrictions on games during pandemic: NPR

Organizers of the Olympics have released draft rules to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during this summer’s games. Among the changes: no cheers and high fives.


A new manual sets out the rules for holding the Olympic Games during a pandemic. In Tokyo, there will be no cheering and no high-five. These are just two of the many restrictions. The Olympics are slated to start in July, but will they really do? This is Anthony Kuhn from NPR.

ANTHONY KUHN, BYLINE: In a press conference on Wednesday, Olympic Games director of operations Pierre Ducrey said the brochure outlines what participants can expect before they arrive in Tokyo.


PIERRE DUCREY: Including a test before you leave your country, a test when you enter the country and what the testing regime will be for each stakeholder group during their stay in Japan.

KUHN: The athletes will be checked at least every four days. They will be prohibited from using public transport or removing their masks indoors, except for eating, drinking or sleeping. But they won’t have to quarantine or be vaccinated. The manuals are preliminary and leave many questions unanswered, such as will spectators be allowed? Or if participants break social distancing rules? Craig Spence is an official of the International Paralympic Committee. He said during the briefing that the organizers are confident the games can be played safely because others have already done so.


CRAIG SPENCE: Thousands of sporting events, including parasport competitions, have gone off without incident since the start of the pandemic.

KUHN: But the Japanese public is not that optimistic. Tokyo is in a state of emergency and polls show 80% of those polled believe the games should be postponed or canceled. Even Japanese organizers and officials have privately expressed doubts. Speaking to lawmakers on Tuesday, however, the head of the Tokyo Games organizing committee, Yoshiro Mori, looked defiant.


YOSHIO MORI: (Speaking Japanese).

KUHN: “We will make sure the games go,” he said, “regardless of the COVID situation.” At a meeting of the Japanese Olympic Committee yesterday, Mori was asked about the possibility of adding more women to the Olympic Committee’s board. Mori, who is 83, replied that women talk too much and their speaking time at meetings must be limited, I quote, “or we can never finish”, without quotes. Mori later apologized for his comments, which drew much criticism, but refused to resign. He told the Mainichi newspaper that he was reprimanded by his own wife, daughter and granddaughter.

Anthony Kuhn, NPR News, Seoul.

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