Discussions are underway to ease travel restrictions for accredited persons attending next year's Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics ©Getty Images

Discussions are underway to create "more flexible" travel arrangements for those accredited to cover next summer's proposed Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

Japan currently has a 14-day quarantine period for new arrivals from most countries, but discussions involving the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Tokyo 2020 and the Japanese Government are ongoing about easing restrictions.

"There is very positive news about athletes and the flexibility around quarantine," said Pierre Ducrey, the IOC's Olympic Games associate director.

"We are working with Tokyo 2020 to obtain flexibility from the authorities for all stakeholders and for media in particular."

Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshirō Mutō has previously confirmed that athletes, coaches and officials can expect to be exempt from Japan's 14-day isolation period.

The announcement earlier this month that early global trials indicate a vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech is 90 per cent effective in preventing people from getting COVID-19 has also been viewed as a development which increases the chances of the Games going ahead next year.

The IOC is currently working on four scenarios with regard to the coronavirus outlook and next year's Olympics ©Getty Images
The IOC is currently working on four scenarios with regard to the coronavirus outlook and next year's Olympics ©Getty Images

With regard to emerging vaccine options, and how they might best be deployed, Ducrey added: "We are working very closely with the World Health Organization to make sure we have awareness of latest developments and also with platforms which are currently looking at distributing the vaccine globally as quickly as possible.

"The IOC is looking to try and make the vaccines available to as many people as possible within the accredited population.

"We are having very frequent conversations now with all the key players, including the manufacturers, to try and understand how we could develop a scheme that allows to make the vaccine available to as many people as possible…

"Having a vaccine would be a positive, but it’s not a must-do for the Games to take place."

IOC President Thomas Bach has downplayed the importance of a vaccine in the past, saying it would not be a "silver bullet" to save the Olympics, while experts have warned it would take many months to roll out.

The IOC is currently working on four scenarios with regard to coronavirus and the Games - one projecting an improvement, two projecting the situation becoming worse either in Japan or globally, and another, situated between those extremes, which is being used as the base case.

This involves global health status reaching a general plateau in terms of new COVID-19 cases, although with the likely presence of some more serious clusters in a number of hotspots.

The base model foresees an economy that would be "moderately recovering", and also an increase in public confidence about being present at mass gatherings following recent trials in Japan where baseball venues were able to lift capacity limits to 80 per cent.

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