With just eight months until the Tokyo Olympic Games’ opening, the Japanese government and game organizers are pushing to figure out how to host the games during the coronavirus pandemic safely.
The 2021 Olympic games were initially scheduled for July of 2020 but were delayed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The games remain on course, and the International Olympic Committee is projecting optimism, but uncertainty still looms.
The Japanese government is considering multiple measures to keep the games from becoming a super-spreader event. One of the steps is facial recognition technology, which will keep track of the athletes entering and exiting training sites and Olympic Village.
Officials are also banking on testing, social distancing, and a widely available vaccine before the games kick-off. Several successful clinical trials have been announced, but it is still uncertain at this point how many athletes, spectators, or volunteers will have access to the vaccine by next summer, according to The New York Times.
“In order to protect the Japanese people, and out of respect for the Japanese people, the IOC will undertake great effort so that as many as possible – Olympic participants and visitors will arrive here vaccinated if, by then, a vaccine is available,” Thomas Bach, president of the IOC told Wired.
Japan has secured 500 million doses of the vaccine from AstraZeneca and Pfizer for 2021 to distribute ahead of the sporting event. Bach said that athletes would not be required to vaccinate. It is still unknown if it’s possible to even distribute enough vaccine before the event.
Japan is indeed working overtime to keep the games on pace for the summer of 2021. Still, with cases of the virus surging around the globe and so many uncertainties, challenges, and risks, the games could be delayed again or canceled entirely.