Tokyo Olympics organizers yesterday said that they were trying to improve conditions for athletes quarantined at the Games, following complaints over a lack of air, food and basic necessities while in isolation due to COVID-19 protocols.
Athletes and staff who test positive or are contact-traced are isolated in separate accommodation from their teams in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.
Athletes have criticized the conditions there, with some, such as Dutch skateboarder Candy Jacobs, who was quarantined early in the Games, calling them “inhumane.”
German independent elite athletes grouping Athleten Deutschland has urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to act.
“It … appears grotesque that athletes who test positive have to spend their quarantine in prison-like conditions, while IOC members stay in expensive luxury hotels and are provided with high daily allowances,” said Maximilian Klein, Athleten Deutschland’s representative for international sport policy.
Among the biggest issues are a lack of fresh air and training facilities, the quality of food, small living quarters and an absence of basic amenities such as laundry.
“It’s unfortunately for all of us, but particularly also the athletes the extra measures that have to be taken in terms of isolation and we fully sympathize with everyone who’s had to go through this,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said. “There are certain regulations that the Japanese health authorities imposed — we can’t do much about that — but there are things that can be done.”
Tokyo Games spokesman Masa Takaya said that organizers had provided more space for them outside their rooms, while teammates could bring food.
“The situation has been improved and we are trying to implement a more flexible approach to accommodate these positive cases,” Takaya said. “We would like to extend our sincere sympathies to them. It must be a heart-wrenching feeling” to test positive at the Olympics.
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