Tokyo Olympics seek COVID-19 defenses, but what exactly?

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Tokyo's newly reelected Gov. Yuriko Koike, right, meets Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori at Tokyo Metropolitan Government headquarters in Tokyo Monday, July 6, 2020. Koike assured Mori that she plans to continue working with him on achieving the games, and agreed to his proposal to set up a meeting among officials from the government, Tokyo and Olympic organizers to discuss COVID-19 countermeasures. (Kyodo News via AP)

TOKYO – As the president of the Tokyo Olympics, Yoshiro Mori knows experts will have to come up with defenses against COVID-19 for the postponed games to open a year from now.

These include quarantines for athletes, and few fans at the venues among ideas being floated by the organizing committee, the city of Tokyo, and the International Olympic Committee.

The Olympics are scheduled to open on July 23, 2021. So far local organizers and the IOC have talked only vaguely in public about how the games can be held. They've proposed cutting out frills and simplifying, but have said the sports will be unchanged with 11,000 athletes competing from 206 national Olympic committees.

Add to this 4,400 Paralympic athletes and thousands of staff members, technical officials, and Olympic officials.

“What we are most worried about now is if we are told to limit people," Mori said Monday, speaking with Yuriko Koike a day after she was elected to a second term as Tokyo's governor.

“How do you separate tickets of those who already bought them?” Mori asked, throwing out an example of the challenges. “We have these kind of problems.”

In addition to talks with Mori — a former prime minister — Koike also met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday. Koike, who is viewed as a future prime minister, said Abe explained the progress on vaccines being developed for COVID-19.

Some scientists believe the Olympics can't be held safely unless a vaccine is available.