The New Zealand team for this summer’s Tokyo 2020 Games and next year’s Beijing 2022 Winter Games have already plan to use non-invasive saliva polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for COVID-19 for it’s team before departure.
The new saliva testing option will be fast, accurate and more comfortable for athletes as more than 1,000 required tests take place to fulfil the pre-departure Tokyo 2020 Games requirements for the New Zealand team.
Japanese Government immigration requires all athletes and support teams to provide a certified negative PCR test within 72 hours before departing for Tokyo 2020
“We’re delighted to have access to a fast, accurate and non-invasive test for our teams departing for Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022,” said New Zealand Olympic Committee chief executive Kereyn Smith.
“We will need to process some 1000+ tests in the pre-departure window so we’re pleased to have Rako Science to help us achieve these.”
The Rako Science saliva test is New Zealand’s only scientifically validated test, and its contracted medical testing laboratory has been accredited to process the tests.
The test is PCR – not antigen – and is fast, non-invasive and highly accurate.
“We’re very pleased to be providing New Zealand’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes with this important development in COVID-19 PCR testing,” said Rako Science director Leon Grice.
We want them to have access to the very best in science and technology before they head off to Tokyo and Beijing.
“We want the athletes to have the best experience possible as they leave New Zealand so they can focus on representing New Zealand and achieving their Olympic dreams.”
In the same vein, the organisers of the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics have confirmed all athletes will be tested for COVID-19 daily as part of coronavirus countermeasures set to be in operation at the Games.
Tokyo 2020, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) have unveiled the second version of the playbook for athletes and officials, which outline the rules participants at the Games must adhere to.
The daily saliva testing for athletes and all those with close proximity to competitors will “minimise the risk of undetected positive cases that could transmit the virus”, organisers said in a joint statement following a five-party meeting between Tokyo 2020, the IOC, IPC, Japanese Government and Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
All participants at the Games will be required to take two COVID-19 tests within 96 hours before they fly to Japan, while officials, coaches and the media will be tested daily for three days after their arrival in the host country.
Athletes who test positive will be prevented from competing at the Games, as outlined in the first playbook in February, and have again been warned that a failure to comply with the measures could result in being stripped of their accreditation.
The IOC has vowed to “ensure no-one is excluded from the Games” because of false positives – where a test incorrectly shows someone has the virus
Athletes who come into close contact with a positive COVID-19 case are set to only be cleared to compete once they themselves have registered a negative test.
Participants will also only be able to eat in designated areas, such as their hotel restaurant, venues and their room, during the entirety of the Games.
All those attending the Games will have to fill out a mandatory written pledge confirming they will adhere to the rules in the playbook, along with proof of a negative test, before they are allowed into Japan.