Tokyo 2020 organisers were set to use facial recognition technology for security purposes already ©Getty Images

Cameras equipped with facial recognition software could be deployed at next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo to combat the spread of coronavirus.

The system was set to be used for security purposes, with athletes and media members undergoing facial recognition tests at accreditation checkpoints before going through to a pedestrian screening area.

But the Japan Times reports that Japanese Government is now looking to use it as part of COVID-19 countermeasures at the Games, which have been delayed by one year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It is believed security cameras could record spectators’ faces and body surfaces at Games venues, as well as checking to see whether they are wearing masks.

The Government is also understood to be weighing up placing cameras at the entrances to the Athletes’ Village and training centres to log entry times and track movements.

The facial recognition system could be used to monitor if spectators are wearing masks ©Getty Images
The facial recognition system could be used to monitor if spectators are wearing masks ©Getty Images

This could help prevent COVID-19 clusters by pinpointing possible carriers, tracing their movements and notifying those who were in close contact that they are at risk.

The Japan Times says data on spectators’ temperatures and movements during events will be deleted after the Games to protect privacy.

A coronavirus countermeasures taskforce is currently assessing possible scenarios and policies that could allow the Olympics to go ahead from July 23 to August 8 next year, with the Paralympics scheduled for between August 24 and September 5.

The taskforce is formed of officials from the Japanese Government, Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, with measures expected to be announced by the end of 2020.