Village opening

Sports | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 21 Jun 2021

Tokyo 2020 organizers threw open the doors of the Olympic Village to the media yesterday, showcasing virus upgrades including a fever clinic just over a month before the Games begin.

Organizers are in the home stretch of preparations before the July 23 opening ceremony, and are trying to build confidence that the mega-event will be safe for athletes and the public.

In a taste of the challenges ahead, a member of the Ugandan Olympic delegation that arrived in Japan on Saturday tested positive for the virus, despite reportedly being vaccinated and testing negative before travel.

Yesterday, organizers unveiled the dedicated virus clinic, warned that drinking in groups would be prohibited and said a mixed zone for guests had been scrapped.

Posters that caution residents to take anti-virus measures including room ventilation have been placed throughout the mini-city, which can house 18,000 athletes and team members during the Olympics and 8,000 during the Paralympics.

The fever clinic, separate from the main medical facility, will be used to test and isolate people suspected of virus infection or considered close contacts of those who test positive. "If there is suspicion of being infected ... we should be able to properly isolate this person," said village manager Takashi Kitajima.

Other measures include reduced seating for diners, plexiglass shields between gym equipment, and a kit of hand sanitizers and soap to be handed to village residents.

Built on reclaimed land looking out over Tokyo Bay, the village has been empty except for workers since the event was postponed last March. Opening in just over a fortnight, the village will be particularly important for athletes in these Games because they are barred from going anywhere else except training and competition venues.

Under strict virus rules, athletes will be tested daily and required to wear masks except during competition, eating and sleeping. And there will be no partying, officials warned.

Competitors can only enter the village shortly before their event and must leave within 48 hours of being eliminated or their competition ending.

And conditions won't exactly be luxurious, with single rooms of nine square meters and doubles of 12 square meters.

Beds are made from recyclable cardboard, but are tough enough to stand up to beefy weightlifters and towering basketball players, organizers say.

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