Time Is Not On Tokyo’s Side For The 2021 Olympics

Tokyo is on lockdown.

The International Olympic Committee and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee do not need this reminder. The host city of this year’s Olympics which is scheduled to start on July 23rd, Tokyo, remains on lockdown until March 21st. On March 24th, 2020, the International Olympic Committee and Japan’s government postponed the Tokyo Games indefinitely because of the burgeoning COVID-19 pandemic. In September 2020, the IOC decided to go ahead with the Tokyo-based games in July 2021 “with or without COVID.” It appears that the Olympic officials are planning to go ahead with COVID-19 in the air. COVID-19 is a respiratory disease. The Olympic governing board is not sure whether athletes need to be vaccinated to compete in the Games. Japan has travel restrictions into the country. International arrivals are required to take Covid-19 tests 72 hours prior to their departure to Japan and submit a negative test result certificate upon arrival. Another coronavirus test must be taken upon arrival and travelers are subject to a 14-day quarantine.

Overseas arrivals are asked to take private cars, dedicated buses or selected trains to get out of the Tokyo airport. That does not bode well for athletes and staff connected to countries sending athletes to Japan to train and get used to the environment. But if restrictions ease, Japan may allow foreign athletes into the country and not have them quarantine. Athletes and staff would be restricted to hotels and training venues, along with being prohibited from using public transport. The Olympic torch relay is scheduled to begin on March 25th. Japan has had a very slow rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. COVID-19 remains a problem in Japan, specifically in the Tokyo area and time is becoming a factor in the decision as to whether the once-delayed event can take place.

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