The Japanese organizers of the Tokyo Olympics have decided to require officials from overseas to be tested for the novel coronavirus daily if they will come into close contact with athletes, sources familiar with the plan said Tuesday.
By conducting frequent testing of officials, including those from the International Olympic Committee and international sports federations, the Japanese government and the organizing body aim to detect infections early and prevent the spread of the virus during the global sporting event.
The new rules are expected to be included in the updated version of the organizers' COVID-19 guidelines known as the "playbooks."
While the first edition of the guidelines published in February stated that officials would be tested "regularly," the organizers in the latest version specified the frequency of screening will depend on how much contact they will have with athletes.
All visiting officials will be tested daily for the first three days in Japan. After that, those who will come into some contact with athletes will be screened at least every four days, while those who do not will take tests every seven days, according to the sources.
With less than three months until the opening of the Olympics, the government and the organizing committee have emphasized that protecting the health of participants and the Japanese people is their top priority.
Athletes and coaches will be tested every day, predominantly through saliva-based tests during the Tokyo Games, several officials said earlier.
The government and the organizing body will also limit the means of transportation used by the tens and thousands of visiting officials, as well as where they can dine during their stay in Japan, according to the sources.
For the first 14 days of their time in Japan, visiting officials will be asked not to eat with other games officials. They can have catered food at venues, order room service, or eat at the restaurants in their hotels, the sources said.
If they cannot get food at hotels or venues, they will be allowed to go out to buy meals provided they do not use public transportation, the sources said.
The IOC and other organizers have already decided to hold this summer's games without spectators from overseas as part of their efforts to ensure public safety.