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Bach encourages athletes to get a vaccine, bans Belarus president from Games

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RESENDING WITH COMPLETE SCRIPT

VIDEO SHOWS: NEWS CONFERENCE WITH INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE PRESIDENT, THOMAS BACH / FILE OF ATHLETES' VILLAGE IN TOKYO / SPECTATORS IN RIO / BELARUS PRESIDENT ALEXANDER LUKASHENKO / PFIZER FILE

SHOWS:

LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND (DECEMBER 7, 2020) (IOC - ACCESS ALL)

1. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IOC PRESIDENT, THOMAS BACH, SAYING:

"To the athletes who do not want to be vaccinated there is first of all the clear message there will be no obligation to get vaccinated. At the same time there is my clear appeal to these athletes to take also their fellow athletes into consideration, and to take the Olympic Games as such into consideration. So it's not only about themselves it's also about the solidarity with their fellow athletes and it's about to contribute to the safe conditions which we will offer during this postponed Olympic Games Tokyo 2020."

PUURS, BELGIUM (DECEMBER 3, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

2. PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY PFIZER'S PLANT

3. PFIZER SIGN

4. TRUCK LEAVING PLANT

UNKNOWN LOCATION (FILE) (PFIZER HANDOUT - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE)

5. VARIOUS OF PFIZER'S VACCINE CANDIDATES IN PRODUCTION

LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND (DECEMBER 7, 2020) (IOC - ACCESS ALL)

6. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IOC PRESIDENT, THOMAS BACH, RESPONDING TO QUESTION ON SHORTENING ATHLETES' STAYS IN THE OLYMPC VILLAGE, SAYING:

"I think that this is absolutely necessary because we need to reduce, to minimise the number of residents in the Olympic Village, to minimise the risk of COVID exposure. At the same time, we wanted to maintain the athletes' experience, we wanted to have it balanced with the considerations about the athletic performance and also with the attendance at particular the opening ceremonies. Therefore the guideline says that the NOCs should adapt their arrival and departure policies to ensure that the athletes can arrive at the Olympic Village five days prior to the start of their competition and depart a maximum of two days after their completion of competition. This of course also applies to the sport specific officials per NOC, not only to the athletes."

TOKYO, JAPAN (FILE - JANUARY 29, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

7. TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC ATHLETES VILLAGE / VILLAGE PLAZA

8. VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF VILLAGE PLAZA

LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND (DECEMBER 7, 2020) (IOC - ACCESS ALL)

9. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IOC PRESIDENT, THOMAS BACH, SAYING:

"We will have the whole world coming together at the one place, and these are the athletes from the 206 national Olympic committees and the IOC refugee Olympic team. And they will live together in the Olympic village. Unfortunately this time maybe for a shorter period of time than usuall. But these guidelines are making sure that nevertheless they can experience the Olympic spirit in the Olympic Village. With regard to spectators, again it's too early to tell which situation we may face and which decision have to be taken because there, in Tokyo 2020 and the Japanese government, as well as the Tokyo Metropolitan government, and the IOC, we want to carefully evaluate which assistance, which help there and newer testing methods or then a vaccination could offer us. This is why this decision has not been taken yet in order to ensure the most of the Olympic spirit as we can offer during this very difficult period of time for all of us."

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (FILE - AUGUST 6, 2016) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

10. VARIOUS OF SPECTATORS IN RIO'S OLYMPIC PARK

LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND (DECEMBER 7, 2020) (IOC - ACCESS ALL)

11. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IOC PRESIDENT, THOMAS BACH, SAYING:

"First to exclude the currently elected members of the executive board of the NOC of Belarus from all IOC events and activities including the Olympic Games. This includes in particular Mr Alexander Lukashenko, in his capacity as NOC president and legal representative of the NOC. Mr Viktor Lukashenko in his capacity as NOC first vice president and the person responsible for the NOC's operations and activities on a daily basis."

TVER REGION, RUSSIA (FILE - JUNE 30, 2020) (RUSSIAN POOL - ACCESS ALL)

12. PUTIN AND LUKASHENKO WALKING BEHIND PROCESSION HOLDING FLOWERS

13. PUTIN AND LUKASHENKO TALKING

MINSK, BELARUS (FILE - AUGUST 23, 2020) (POOL PERVOGO - NO RESALE, DO NOT OBSCURE LOGO)

14. LUKASHENKO SPEAKING TO RIOT POLICE

STORY: Athletes competing at next year's Tokyo Olympics will have a shorter than usual stay at the world's biggest multi-sports event due to tight COVID-19 health protocols, the International Olympic Committee said on Monday (December 7)

IOC President Thomas Bach urged national Olympic committees to adapt athletes' and support staff travel plans so that they do not arrive too early or stay too late, to minimise the risk of infections and told athletes to consider their fellow competitors and the Olympic games itself if they are reluctant to get a vaccination against the disease.

The rule change around the Olympic Village means athletes competing in the second week of the Olympics would not be attending the traditional teams' parade in the Olympic stadium at the opening ceremony of the event. Those arriving early would miss out on the closing ceremony.

The IOC said there would also be tighter controls on who can stay in the Athletes' Village to protect the competitors.

The pandemic earlier this year forced the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics by a year.

With more than 10,000 athletes from across the world expected for the Games, there are fears that their arrival could cause a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Meanwhile Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has been banned from attending the Games as head of his country's National Olympic Committee (NOC), as part of provisional sanctions.

The IOC banned two other officials from the NOC, including Lukashenko's son, Viktor, who is the first vice president of the national Olympic body.

Belarus, a country of 9.5 million that Russia sees as a security buffer against NATO, has been rocked by mass protests since an Aug. 9 presidential election which Lukashenko said he won. His opponents claim the vote was rigged and want him to quit.

(Production: Iain Axon)

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