Japan Says Olympics Must Not Burden Medical Systems

TOKYO—The Olympics must not be a burden on medical systems, Japan’s chief government spokesman said on Friday, amid worries that daily athlete testing will tax health resources already stressed in fighting a rebound of COVID-19 cases.

The Games will be held in a manner that makes everyone feel safe, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told reporters, responding to concerns raised by a nurses’ union that the world’s biggest sporting event will sap medical resources needed by the public.

Tokyo 2020 organisers this week issued the second edition of “playbooks” that lay out infection prevention standards for the Summer Games, which are due to start in less than three months after a one-year delay because of the pandemic.

The rules require daily testing of athletes and restrict their use of public transportation, complicating logistics in more remote locations.

The venue for surfing in the Tokyo Olympics refused to set up COVID-19 testing and treatment facilities for athletes, citing a lack of medical facilities, NHK reported on Friday.

The town of Ichinomiya, about 96 km (60 miles) east of Tokyo, had been asked to set up a testing facility by the Brazilian national team, NHK said.

Brazilian surfers, expected to be among the medals at the sport’s Olympic debut, had wanted to base themselves near the beach instead of the Olympic Village some two hours away, NHK said.

A representative of the town’s Olympic planning office denied the report when contacted by Reuters. Representatives for the Tokyo Olympics did not immediately respond when contacted for comment, and the Brazilian team could not immediately be reached.

Tokyo and Osaka remain under a state of emergency, set to last until May 11.