Tokyo 2021: Coronavirus cops ban Olympic cheers
Banning cheering and forcing the wearing of face masks are some of the measures being considered by a coronavirus task forcegroup to ensure spectators will be allowed at next year's Tokyo Olympics.
International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach said on Monday he was "very, very confident" that spectators would be able to attend next year's Olympics during his first visit to Tokyo since the Games were postponed in March.
Organisers and Japanese officials have insisted that they can hold the event, and are drawing up a raft of coronavirus measures intended to make the Games safe even if the pandemic is not over.
The Olympic chief also pledged that the IOC would "undertake great efforts" to make sure as many participants and spectators as possible were vaccinated before arriving in Japan, if a vaccine was available by next summer.
Bach confirmed last week that the IOC was in discussions with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and pharmaceutical manufacturersover sourcing a supply of COVID-19 vaccines for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021.
The postponed Games are set to begin on July 23, 2021 and end on August 8 and documents released show plans for all spectators to wear face masks and a ban on yelling or speaking loudly at the various venues.
Tokyo Games chief executive Toshiro Muto said: "There's a possibility that we might ask the (Olympic) spectators to refrain from shouting or talking in a loud voice."
"When we think of the impact, we believe it is an item for consideration, to reduce the risk of airborne droplets."
Spiralling infections and new lockdowns around the world triggered scepticism the event would not go ahead with spectators - and last week Olympic organisers offered thousand of local ticket holders a chance to claim a refund on their tickets.
Spectator attendance, locally and internally, is the most pressing issue for the three-party council of the Japanese Government,Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Tokyo Organising Committee.
Confirmed cases of coronavirus in Japan exceeded 100,000 last week - but the country has had fewer than 2000 deaths - and polls show a majority of Japan's public believe the Games should be postponed further, or cancelled altogether.
"We are putting really a huge toolbox together in which we will put all the different measures we can imagine," Bach said,after meeting Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
"Next year … we will be able to take (the) right tools out of this toolbox and apply them in order to ensure safe environmentfor all participants in the Games.
This makes us all very, very confident that we can have spectators in the Olympic stadia next year."
The current two-week quarantine and non-usage of public transportation "will make it difficult" for foreign spectators to attend, Games officials have acknowledged.
Under consideration are measures include a screening system to confirm the visitors are healthy before their entry into Japan and the creation of a system to manage their behaviour and health after entering Japan.
Currently, foreign nationals from 152 countries are banned from entering Japan however, Australians are allowed to enter Japanbut must complete 14 days of isolation on arrival. However, Australian citizens are no longer required to undergo a COVID-19 screening test at the airport.
Originally published as Tokyo 2021: Coronavirus cops ban Olympic cheers