Team GB athletes face the prospect of six days’ hard quarantine in Tokyo under rules that risk throwing their Olympic preparations into chaos.
A Tokyo 2020 spokesperson confirmed that athletes are not exempt from the Japanese government restrictions which were imposed last week due to fears over rising cases of the Covid Delta variant in the UK.
Under the current rules, all Olympic-accredited arrivals from the country must immediately self-isolate in their official Games hotel rooms for a period of six days.
Tokyo 2020 spokesperson Masa Takaya said: “Quarantine for six days is required for some countries where the same treatment will be imposed to athletes and media.”
Failure to comply with the rules risks disciplinary consequences including disqualification or even deportation under newly stringent guidelines published by the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday.
Officials at the British Olympic Association indicated they remain hopeful the existing restrictions will be eased when they are scheduled for revision by the Japanese government on July 1.
A BOA spokesperson said: “We continue to have positive dialogue with the IOC and the Tokyo Organising Committee, following our letter to the President of Tokyo 2020.
“Our approach to additional testing measures and vaccinations for the delegation prior to departure and upon arrival demonstrate we are doing everything possible to minimise any risk to the people of Japan.”
The IOC has consistently maintained that disruption for athletes will be kept to a minimum, and is also engaged in continuing dialogue with Japanese government officials over the implications of the official decrees.
IOC executive director Christophe Dubi said: “Those countries that are affected by the variants have also made a pledge… whereby they will take extra measures on their side.
“If there is a problem, of course we will follow the rule as established by the authorities, but we can do more, and this is what these delegations have pledged to do.”
Athletes already face a rigid schedule of daily testing in Tokyo, and will be both accompanied by supervisors and GPS-tracked when they travel from their accommodation to Games venues.
They have been advised to socially distance as much as possible, including eating alone and avoiding any contact with members of the Japanese public, the majority of whom remain opposed to the Games taking place.
An IOC spokesman later confirmed the current six-day quarantine rule, saying: “Border control measures are the responsibility of the Japanese government.
“At the moment, there is a strict six-day quarantine in place for people arriving from red-list countries.
“Tokyo 2020 is working closely with the national government to address the current situation and mitigate any impact on participants, while ensuring safe and secure Games.
“Tokyo 2020 will communicate the outcome of these discussions to all relevant stakeholders once a final approach is agreed.”