Testing, testing and more testing.
Less than three months before the Tokyo Olympics are set to open amid a global pandemic, organizers released their latest version of the "Playbook" for athletes on Wednesday.
The rule book was short on some details, and still raised numerous questions around the safety measures meant to protect the 15,000 athletes plus coaches and officials travelling to Tokyo for the Olympics and Paralympics.
Testing was one of the key highlights. All participants must pass two COVID-19 tests before leaving their home country. They'll be tested upon arrival, and then athletes, and those in close proximity to athletes will be tested daily.
"These measures are obviously good. They're pretty robust and will no doubt reduce some of the risk. But that risk still remains exceedingly high in my opinion," said Canadian race walker Evan Dunfee, who won bronze at the 2019 world championships.
"Obviously that is a risk that I am OK with personally because I am going to go regardless, but it still leaves me with wondering what more could possibly be done save for cancelling to further reduce the risk, and whether that isn't the appropriate option."
The 60-page book, released by the International Olympic Committee and local organizers, stressed that athletes will face tight restrictions in Tokyo, which came under a third state of emergency this week amid surging COVID-19 cases in Japan. Athletes and other participants, regardless of whether they've been vaccinated, must sign a pledge to follow the Playbook rules.
"If that is not complied with, there will be a certain level of penalty," Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the organizing committee, said.
He hinted at loss of credential and expulsion for breaking the rules.
Among other highlights:
• All participants will have to pass two COVID-19 tests before leaving their home country. And they will be tested upon arrival in Japan.
• Athletes will be tested daily, as will those in close proximity to athletes.
• Other games participants will be tested daily for the first three days, and then as required.
• All games participants must use dedicated vehicles and avoid public transportation for the first 14 days.
• Games participants must eat only in specified locations, including catering facilities at games venues. Athletes will be dining in the Athletes Village, which will be an isolated "bubble."
• Game participants will avoid a 14-day quarantine rule for entering Japan, but to do so they must fill out a schedule listing their plans for that period, and also download a tracking app.
• A decision about capacity at the venues will be made in June. Fans from abroad were banned several months ago.
Vaccines remain a huge concern, both in Japan, where only about one per cent of the population has been vaccinated, and for other countries travelling to Tokyo. The IOC has suggested that all national Olympic organizations request vaccination priority for athletes.
Canada's position remains firm -- it will not cut in line.
"We maintain that Canada's front-line workers and most vulnerable populations should be the priority for vaccinations," David Shoemaker, the CEO and secretary general of the Canadian Olympic Committee, said in a statement. "With the growing numbers of vaccines available to Canadians, we are hopeful that athletes will have access to them prior to Tokyo, which would provide an additional layer of protection to the significant countermeasures that have been put in place."
Australia announced Wednesday that its athletes and support staff -- about 2,000 people -- will be given priority for vaccines. New Zealand announced last month that athletes competing in events of national significance could get early access to vaccines.
"If you are going to have the Olympics and send a team then vaccinate them, it is literally 0.00002 per cent of the population," said Gar Leyshon, coach of Olympic decathlon bronze medallist Damian Warner. "And do we really want unvaccinated athletes returning to Canada from the biggest super-spreader event in history?"
Canada hopes to send between 400 and 425 athletes to Tokyo for the Olympics, which opens July 23. The Paralympics open Aug. 24.
The IOC and Tokyo organizers have vowed to push ahead with the Games, despite the state of emergency in Tokyo, Osaka and several other areas.
Polls have shown the majority -- 70 to 80 per cent -- of Japanese residents think the Olympics should be cancelled or postponed.
Tokyo recorded more than 900 new cases on Wednesday, its highest level in three months, as new variants are popping up in the country.
"Yes, the situation is very difficult," Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said. "We are fighting the invisible enemy."
Muto was asked if another postponement was possible. In the last few weeks renewed questions about cancellation have also popped up. The IOC long ago ruled out another postponement.
"Can you really take the time for another postponement?" Muto asked rhetorically. "It's not just a matter of taking the time, the organizers would have to prepare once again after having already spent years to prepare. It is not something that can be done that casually."
Muto pointed out the impossibility, if postponed, of securing the Athletes Village, which is a massive housing project on Tokyo Bay that has already been partially sold off.
A final version of the Playbook will be released in June.