Tokyo's Covid-safe Olympics protocols put to the test

Confidence restored following successful trial event, while Japanese businesses eager for Games to go ahead. 

Organisers welcomed news of Pfizer Inc's experimental vaccine, but say the Games will not depend on a vaccine. Photo Credit: IOC

Tokyo’s ability to manage Covid-safe event protocols for next year’s Olympic Games safely was put the test this week, with gymnasts from four nations gathering in the Japanese capital for a friendly tournament over the weekend (8 November).

According to Reuters, the weekend test event involving athletes from Japan, China, Russia and the United States, went off largely without a hitch as the Federation International de Gymnastique (FIG) and the Japanese Gymnastics Association (JGA) tested various measures against the novel coronavirus.

All athletes and staff took daily PCR tests during their time in Japan and their movements were heavily restricted. Two thousand fans who were allowed into the Yoyogi National Gymnasium also had their temperatures checked upon entry.

The JGA has since confirmed that no positive test results were detected among athletes or staff.

A Reuters survey has also revealed that most Japanese firms want the Tokyo Olympics to go ahead next summer, despite restrictions on spectator numbers. According to the survey, respondents agreed that even a limited boost to the economy would be better than nothing.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, meanwhile, has vowed to do everything it takes to ensure the pandemic-delayed Olympic Games take place in 2021.

Adding to the optimism is news this week that Pfizer Inc's experimental Covid-19 vaccine is more than 90 per cent effective, based on initial trials.

While Olympics organisers welcomed news of Pfizer Inc's trial, they said the Games will not depend on a vaccine.