Tuesday December 5, 2023

Tracking Possible to Increase Chance of Fans at Olympics

Downtown Tokyo
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Tokyo Olympics organizers are weighing the use of a health tracking app in hopes of allowing fans from abroad to attend the 2021 Games. The app will facilitate contact tracing and link visas, proof of test results and tickets to a unique ID for each spectator. 

Outlook: IOC President Thomas Bach has been adamant that spectators will be allowed to attend in some capacity, and recently said his organization will help encourage COVID-19 vaccination globally. 

  • Japan will make the decision by next spring whether it will admit overseas fans.
  • Fans from countries with relatively few virus cases could be exempted from Japan’s current 14-day quarantine travel requirement.

Potential pushback: Anti-Olympics sentiment has been growing among Japanese citizens as the upcoming games’ unofficial budget has ballooned to nearly $30 billion —  about four times its initial price tag. 

  • Anti-Olympics protestors — upset about growing costs, citizens displaced by venues constructed for competition, and COVID-19 risks associated with the games — followed Bach around during a visit to Tokyo last month.
  • A report about the app from Japanese newspaper Nikkei was met with rejection on social media from citizens who fear for their health should international fans compromise the nation’s low rate of COVID-19 infections. 

Athletes will be heavily tested. Earlier this week, organizers said that participants will have to return a negative COVID-19 test within the 72 hours prior to their arrival and will be tested every 96-120 hours during the event.

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