CNN visited Team Great Britain’s headquarters in Tokyo and found some of the most stringent Covid-19 security measures in place, which go far beyond Tokyo 2020 and the International Olympic Committee guidelines.
The team took over an elementary school along the waterfront overlooking Tokyo Bay for athlete training and medical services. They sported the Union Jack design on the walls of the four-story building and even have a rooftop garden with Union Jack lounge chairs for athletes to relax.
There is almost a blanket ban on face-to-face interviews until athletes have completed all of their events.
This is in part to prevent a potential infection, which could force athletes to drop out of the Games. The other reason is that athletes can stay mentally focused.
To gain access to the waterside resort, the CNN team went through a rigorous testing process.
Members of the media team ran a rapid antigen test, also known as the lateral flow test, which gives results in 15 minutes. The tests are not as accurate as the PCR tests, but provide a quick indication of positive cases.
The test is self-administered, guided by a member of the Team GB contingent. Media personnel should dab their throat and nostrils with a long cotton swab, which is then dropped into a fluid solution in a tube. This solution is then placed on a small plastic testing device. After 15 minutes, the results appear, showing one line for negative or two lines for positive – similar to a pregnancy test.
After the CNN team tested negative, they were allowed to continue to the rooftop of the fourth floor, where media teams are lined up to speak to their medal-winning athletes. Interviews are conducted in the outdoor rooftop space, with the reporter and athlete standing two meters apart, maintaining social distancing.
The interaction lasts less than 10 minutes, a sign that even though Covid-19 cases are increasing rapidly at home in the UK, the team on the ground in Tokyo is taking all precautions.
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