The Guardian Australia
Australia's Olympians to be encouraged to take vaccine but Games will be 'safe'
Australia’s Olympics athletes will not be required to have a Covid-19 vaccination but will be encouraged to do so as planning ramps up for July’s delayed Tokyo Games. IOC vice-president and AOC president John Coates said planning had reached the finite stage for the showpiece, set to begin one year later than first planned on 23 July.
“Last week we had four days of operational planning; we’re down now to looking at the seating on the buses to make sure there’s the correct distances,” he said. “We suddenly need double the fleet. We have to make the Olympic village and venues the safest place in Tokyo and that’s what we’re doing.”
Coates said cultural and religious differences mean the Covid vaccine cannot be made compulsory but Australian athletes would be encouraged to do so and those willing to would be vaccinated by June.
“Absolutely the athletes [will be safe]; they will only go there five days before, they will leave when their competition is over,” he said. “They will be tested before they leave, tested on arrival, tested every four days. They will only be in the Olympic village and their venue, not going downtown.”
Tokyo 2020 organisers are hopeful of welcoming spectators to the Games, with IOC president Thomas Bach saying in November a “reasonable number of spectators” would be possible.
“A decision on all of the accredited people and those that bought tickets will be taken by the Japanese government on what’s safe, probably in March or early April,” Coates said.