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Tokyo 2020

What happens if an athlete tests positive for Covid-19 during the Tokyo Olympics?

An athlete testing positive for covid-19 during the Olympics not only means a blow for that particular country's medal chances but also increases the chances of a bigger covid-19 outbreak.

2020 Tokyo Olympics Cancel Coronavirus
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Why are the calls to cancel the Tokyo Olympics justified? (Source: Japan Times)

By

Abhijit Nair

Updated: 2021-07-15T16:30:47+05:30

The delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics is now less than 20 days away. Being conducted almost a year after it was originally supposed to happen, the Tokyo Games are expected to be held in a subdued fashion, thanks to the covid-19 pandemic.

While foreign fans from across the world will not be allowed to enter the stadiums in Tokyo, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo Olympics Organising Committee is yet to take a call on the entry of local fans in the stadiums.

Undoubtedly, hosting the Olympics under the prevailing circumstances across the world is a big risk. The Delta variant of the coronavirus is mutating rapidly, and experts fear it will wreak havoc all around the globe due to the congregation of athletes at Tokyo for the Olympics.

What if even a single athlete tests positive for Covid-19 during the Olympics?

This is a question every single sports fan has in mind currently, and it's scary. An athlete testing positive during the Olympics not only means a blow for that particular country's medal chances but also increases the chances of a bigger covid-19 outbreak.

While the IOC has released three versions of a playbook containing rules and regulations the athletes have to follow during their stay in Japan, the possibility of a covid-19 outbreak cannot be ruled out by any stretch of the imagination.

In the very first playbook for athletes and officials released in February, earlier this year, the IOC had described what would happen to any athlete testing positive for coronavirus during the Tokyo Olympics.

As per the playbook, any athlete testing positive for coronavirus will be forced to withdraw from the Olympics altogether. They will not be allowed to compete further in the quadrennial event. Besides, the 'close contacts' of the athlete who has tested positive will be put through a mandatory covid-19 test. Here, close contacts mean those who have been in touch with the positive athlete for more than 15 minutes.

The playbook also states that the athletes who fail to comply with the rules will risk losing their IOC accreditation. Moreover, a second test will also be conducted on the athlete who tested positive so that he/she does not miss out on the Olympics due to a false positive alarm.


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