TOKYO – The athletes’ village for the Tokyo Olympics in the capital’s Harumi waterfront district pre-opened Wednesday, mainly for officials of team delegations, as uncertainty prevails over how the coronavirus pandemic will unfold during the games that open in about two weeks.
The 44-hectare village featuring a fever clinic and other revamped measures to combat the virus will formally welcome athletes next Tuesday, 10 days before the opening ceremony of the Olympics, and serve as their base until three days after the closing of the games on Aug. 8.
The officials eligible to enter the village are those in charge of making preparations to welcome their team athletes and supporting them throughout the Olympics.
The support staff are required to travel to the village directly from Japanese airports using dedicated buses and other special transportation methods. They can only make trips to locations for which applications have been submitted in advance and are asked to eat in a restaurant on the premises that opened Wednesday.
The site will officially open for participants of the Paralympics between Aug. 17 and Sept. 8. Around 18,000 athletes and officials are expected to stay during the games.
As a coronavirus precaution, Olympic athletes need to limit their stays in the village to a minimum by checking in five days prior to competition and para-athletes seven days before. They are required to leave the village in the two days after their competition events.
A fever clinic, set up in May as part of improved efforts against the pandemic, will offer medical care and polymerase chain reaction tests for people suspected of being infected with the virus. Residents of the village are requested to undergo COVID-19 testing daily.
The village is surrounded by the sea on three sides and allows views of Tokyo Bay and the Rainbow Bridge. It houses 21 residential buildings, with rooms equipped with beds made of cardboard boxes, a fitness center and a transportation hub that offers buses to each venue.
The 24-hour main dining hall can provide up to 45,000 meals a day ranging from Japanese, western, Asian to halal cuisines, while a casual dining area focuses on traditional and popular Japanese dishes, including tempura and “okonomiyaki” pancakes.