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Some Tokyo Olympic athletes shun mask mandate at opening ceremony

Athletes are seen with fireworks during the opening ceremony at the Japan National Stadium at the 2020 Summer Olympics, on July 23, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- During the athletes' parade at the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony on Friday night, most members of the Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan delegations were not wearing face masks, flying in the face of the "playbook" countermeasures against the coronavirus.

    There were also athletes among other nations' delegations who could be seen with masks lowered to their chins, despite rules calling for them to always don masks and keep close contact with others to a minimum.

    As a measure against heat stroke, athletes have been allowed to remove their masks outdoors when they are more than two meters apart from others.

    During the parade, most of the athletes and officials from the delegations wore masks as requested, but they removed them afterwards and sat close to one another while they chatted.

    Although Argentina's delegation wore masks, some swung their arms around the shoulders of the athletes next to them and leapt up and down in celebration.

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