International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach says he doesn’t expect countries to pull out of next year’s Tokyo Olympics due to Covid pandemic and that athletes too won’t be barred if they test negative.
The Olympics are set to be held from July 23 to August 8 next year after being postponed from 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic but leading health experts have, over the past few months, expressed doubts on whether the Games can be held without a vaccine for the virus.
Bach said that athletes who would be travelling to Tokyo from countries that have a high amount of infections won’t be barred from participating in the Games.
“Athletes do not bear responsibility for the virus,” said Bach in an Instagram chat with German javelin thrower Johannes Vetter.
“If they test negative and follow the safety regulations, they should have the opportunity to participate. I also do not expect countries to opt out. All 206 National Olympic Committees affiliated with the IOC are determined and full of anticipation.”
Bach also said that the organisers are planning testing centres at the athletes’ village, which will be treated as a bio-secure bubble.
“The athletes village is the beating heart of the Games, but this time it will not have the social function that we are used to,” said Bach.