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Posted by Christine Armishaw on 09/03/2020.

AOC Advice for Summer Games Planning

Letter from AOC CEO Matt Carrol:

I am writing to update you on the effect the COVID-19 virus is having on Games planning and preparations.

Firstly, and most importantly, the AOC takes the continuing threat of COVID-19 virus very seriously.

We are receiving the best possible advice on an ongoing basis which is informing our decisions and actions. This advice comes from knowledgeable sources including the IOC, advised by World Health Organisation; Tokyo Games Organising Committee, advised by Japanese Government; the Australian Government and our own medical experts.

This advice ensures we are placing the health and wellbeing of athletes, officials and team operations staff at the forefront of all our planning and decisions.

The AOC continues to plan that the Tokyo Games are proceeding on schedule in line with the IOC’s stated position; “The preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 continue as planned.

Countermeasures against infectious diseases constitute an important part of Tokyo 2020’s plans to host safe and secure Games.

Tokyo 2020 will continue to collaborate with all relevant organisations which carefully monitor any incidence of infectious diseases and will review any countermeasures that may be necessary with all relevant organisations.

In addition, the IOC is in contact with the World Health Organization, as well as its own medical experts. We have full confidence that the relevant authorities, in particular in Japan and China, will take all the necessary measures to address the situation.” 

Therefore, based on the available advice the AOC is continuing in full with preparations and planning for the Australia Team to attend the Tokyo Games.

Athletes and Sports

Working collaboratively the AOC and the AIS have been in contact with all sports (summer and winter) to build a register of competitions, qualifiers, training camps and individual athlete’s plans, so we are able to track all movements and provide specialised advice from the Government dependant on the region of the world a team or an athlete is intending to travel to.

The Australian Institute of Sport, partnering with the Australian Olympic Committee and Paralympics, has set up a web page on their site to provide athletes and team officials with timely, evidence-based information on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) that recognises the unique concerns and context associated with athletes preparing for the Games.

The pages are updated daily if required. https://ais.gov.au/health-wellbeing/covid-19#about_covid-19

Our message to athletes and sports is keep training and preparing for the Games. The AOC and AIS will keep you informed and take all necessary steps to mitigate any disruptions.

AOC Tokyo Planning Visit; 25 March – 27 March

Taking in the advice as noted above, the Team Executive has decided that the planning visit to Tokyo will proceed but on a shortened schedule. The focus will be on the Australian Team village allotment, sport venues and face-to-face meetings with TOCOG Sport and Venue Managers.

Please note this is the last time before the Games that these visits and meetings will be available.

Based on advice from Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, the Australian Government recommends travellers ‘exercise a high degree of caution’ in Japan due to a heightened risk of sustained local transmission of COVID-19. There are no travel restrictions in relation to Japan. In addition, the Japanese Government has now taken a number of additional steps designed to contain the virus to particular local areas, restricting the opportunity for these areas to become “joined-up.”

That includes measures like closing schools, travel restrictions and the cancellation of sports events where mass gathering would have taken place.

These measures have given us confidence in the way Japan is managing to contain any further domestic transmission of the virus, so I have approved for AOC senior managers and staff to attend the planning visit led by Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman and undertake the final checking and planning. Information we collect, including videos of the village, will of course be made available to all sports.

If your organisation has a staff member invited to attend the planning visit, (list attached), I request you confirm your staff member’s attendance by close of business, Thursday 5 March.

Please advise Luke Pellegrini on [email protected]

The decision to send your staff member on the visit is one for your organisation to make. 

Your decision will obviously be respected and if it is not to send your staff member, we will endeavour to cover off any specifics with regard to your sports Games planning.

The planned Sport Liaison Training which was to occur in Tokyo will be rescheduled to a date TBC in Sydney. We will advise the date shortly.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus is obviously a serious disruption to preparations and concern to all involved. I have however been greatly impressed with the attitude of athletes I have spoken with in recent days who are focussed and just getting on with their training. Our job here at AOC is to ensure we support your athletes to do just that.

Kind regards,

Matt Carroll AM
Chief Executive Officer

Supplied by AOC

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