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International Games
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Bach to Meet With Olympic Family in October

IOC President Thomas Bach will hold virtual meetings with the three pillars of the Olympic Movement In early October, Around the Rings has learned.

A comprehensive "package" of coronavirus countermeasures is currently being developed by a Japanese government panel including the Organizing Committee. Considerations on this matter could be reported by Bach at those next meetings. .

Bach will meet by teleconference with the members of the IOC on October 1st, with the presidents of the NOCs including Bermuda’s Judy Simons on October 2nd and with the presidents of the International Olympic Sports Federations on October 5th.

This week, President Bach had already mentioned "important discussions" in the coming weeks after a virtual press conference at the end of an IOC Executive Board.

The Olympic leader made it clear that amid the uncertainty in the face of the pandemic it was still too early to announce concrete measures that will be applied in the postponed Tokyo Olympics.

The Games will be held from July 23rd to August 8th, 2021. The Paralympic Games, from August 24th to September 5th.

Bach said the organizers had to "prepare for different scenarios" and stressed that the main concern (and occupation) of the IOC will be to ensure a safe environment for everyone involved in the Games.

The Japanese authorities have another five meetings scheduled to form a tentative plan that they may release later this year.

The panel, headed by Under Cabinet Secretary Kazuhiro Sugita, in cooperation with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Organizing Committee, is specifically in charge of developing border control and security measures.

Local authorities assume that the global spread of the virus will not be fully contained by the time of the Tokyo Games, but are considering easing entry restrictions for foreign athletes.

The relaxation is expected to take place on the condition that foreign athletes and other visitors present documents showing they have tested negative for the virus as well as promising limited movements within the country, according to government officials as reported by Kyodo.

The best way to isolate the athletes after entering Japan will be discussed in future meetings.

The panel first agreed to have discussions about border control and transportation measures for athletes, before moving on to anti-virus measures at the Olympic Village and at the Games venues. Lastly, they plan to focus on anti-virus measures for Games officials and spectators.

The introduction of a mobile app that tracks the movements of athletes and other stakeholders is also being considered.

Under normal circumstances, about 11,000 athletes from about 200 countries and regions participate in the Olympic Games.

Before the onset of the pandemic, the heat and humidity of Tokyo summers represented the biggest health problems for organizers. But the need for protective masks during the Games means that previous plans to keep Olympic staff and spectators cool may be inadequate.

"Protective masks cover the mouth, and that makes it difficult for the body to expel heat, which increases the risk of heatstroke," said Masuji Hattori, a professor at Hyogo School of Medicine who specializes in the condition.

This is the most recent analysis of another potential problem on the organizers' agenda nine months before the opening.
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