Covid Testing For Travel At The Olympics

Athletes at the Tokyo olympics in 2020 had to undergo rigorous testing regimes in order to be able to compete at the olympics. In order to facilitate these testing regimes prior to travelling to Japan. Randox was one of the leading supporters and developers of a test which enabled team GB to travel to Japan with minimum disruption as well as having fast and accurate tests to help enable their onward travel. 

How Was Testing Made Easy For Team GB?

The latest development in medical testing for patients with coronavirus has led to much improved testing for athletes. The Heathrow antigen test had a significant part to play in the effective testing procedures and plans that were implemented for athletes travelling from the UK. At a time when Japan was strengthening restrictions on its own citizens and limiting their movements, similar restrictions were being imposed on athletes and sports officials. This meant that realistically, the Heathrow antigen couldn’t have been used at a better time. 

From arrival at Heathrow airport, team GB athletes took a rapid antigen test in order to ensure that they were free from covid infection prior to travelling. The Heathrow antigen tests were managed and administered by professional staff who helped to ensure that the tests were completed quickly and accurately for the Olympic teams travelling through the airport. In addition to the tests taken at the airport, staff and athletes also had to take tests in the days prior to travelling to ensure that they were entirely free from any contact with covid 19. 

Did The Restrictions Cause Disruption For Travelling Athletes?

Coronavirus  health screening for athletes as well as travellers  has improved a great deal due to the involvement of a larger number of professional testing firms. The Heathrow antigen testing facilities have also seen an increase in their overall capacity and the number of enquiries that they can receive on a daily basis. 

While the restrictions were necessary and key to protecting people’s health, questions have arisen over whether or not the restrictions have caused considerable disruption for travelling athletes.

Based on feedback from members of team GB in addition to sports coaching staff, there has been an acceptance of the restrictions and acknowledgement of why they are being enforced so stringently. Thankfully, disruption or delay has been minimized thanks to effective planning and management by the olympic planning committee in addition to planning by team GB. The Heathrow antigen tests also played an important role in enabling onward travel. 

Some health professionals believe that routine coronavirus testing for athletes is ineffective and inefficient. However, most health professionals believe that the benefits of such testing outweigh the disadvantages. Regular testing for existing and new strains of coronavirus helped to decrease the possibility of exposure to coronavirus at the Olympic games in Tokyo.

How Effective Have The Testing And Isolation Protocols Been?

There has been plenty of discussion regarding the testing and isolation protocols that were put in place in order to allow for the games to be held safely. One of the biggest and most controversial decisions that was taken for Tokyo 2020 was the choice not to include spectators at the event. This decision was not taken lightly and this was decided because of currency Japanese government restrictions during that period. 

It’s difficult to say what might have happened if there were crowds at the event, but what is certain is that implementing and enforcing testing on a scale similar to what the athletes had to undertake may not have been viable. 

The measures put in place to try and prevent and control coronavirus around the Tokyo Olympics appeared to work fairly effectively overall. The vast majority of olympic teams and athletes were able to compete at the games without incident and were well protected from coronavirus. However, there were some limited outbreaks at the games which did cause a small amount of disruption due to some athletes and other officials having to self isolate. Undoubtedly the Heathrow antigen test in addition to the tests carried out in Tokyo helped keep the participants of the Tokyo olympics safe and well protected from outbreaks of coronavirus. These tests are also being used by visiting international football and Rugby teams arriving into Heathrow airport to play at matches across the UK.