China looks to ‘Zero COVID’ Olympics



Athletes will need to be vaccinated – or face extended isolation – perform daily tests and wear masks when not competing or training. Clap your hands to cheer your teammates on, not shout. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will be quarantined and unable to compete until released.

Welcome to the Beijing Olympics, where strict containment measures will aim to create an anti-virus “bubble” for thousands of international visitors at a time when omicrons are driving infections across the globe. Global.

The precautionary procedures will be similar to those at the Tokyo Olympics this summer, but much stricter. That won’t be too difficult in Beijing, with China maintaining its “Zero COVID” policy since the beginning of the pandemic.

However, China’s ability to follow a nationwide zero-tolerance approach has been tested with a highly transmissible omicron variant that is more contagious than earlier variants of the virus and is likely to be avoided. better protection from vaccines.

With just a few weeks before the Olympics kick off on February 4, more than 20 million people in six cities are under lockdown following recent outbreaks.

This is how the Games will work.


Yes, athletes and other participants, including team staff and the news media, need to be fully immunized to be allowed into designated Olympic zones without completing into a 21-day quarantine. Those areas will include the Olympic Village, game venues, other select points, and specialized vehicles.

That’s different from the Tokyo Olympics, where participants don’t have to be vaccinated.

Participants were considered to be fully immunized according to their national definitions. Before boarding, everyone is also required to provide two recent negative tests from approved laboratories.

The risk of being disqualified by a positive test is putting additional pressure on athletes.

Mogul skier Hannah Soar said she avoids contact with people indoors and acts as if everyone has the virus: “We’re basically at a point where we act like it’s March. year 2020”.


Upon arrival at the airport in Beijing, the participants will have their temperatures taken and be checked with throat and nose swabs. An Olympics official who recently visited the venue said the process took him 45 minutes during a press conference, although organizers note that times are subject to change.

A bus will then take people to their designated accommodation, where they will wait up to six hours for test results and notify them to move within approved areas. Restricting movement in that “closed loop” is intended to prevent any potential contact between Olympic participants and local people.

All participants will be required to take throat swabs for daily testing. In Tokyo, participants spat into vials to test for antigens.

Standard precautions are being encouraged, such as ventilating rooms and keeping a distance of about 3 feet (1 meter) from others – or 6 feet (2 meters) from athletes.

N95 masks or similar sized respirators will also be required in indoor and outdoor areas with some exceptions, such as when people are eating or drinking. The dining room will be partitioned and seating capacity will be reduced to help maintain distance.

Talking in places where you can’t see far, such as elevators, is not allowed. Staff will be stationed in key areas to help guide people and ensure protocols are followed.


In Tokyo, organizers said 33 athletes tested positive during the Games. Among them, 22 people withdrew from the competition. Even as precautions are tightened in Beijing, experts say some positive testing could happen, especially with omicrons being used.

If an athlete or other participants test positive but do not have symptoms, they will need to be isolated in a dedicated hotel. They will be provided with meals and can open windows for fresh air but will not be able to leave their rooms, which organizers say will be about 270 square feet (25 square metres).

Athletes may require fitness equipment to work out.

Those without symptoms can isolate after two days of testing negative. Organizers say they will consider those who test positive on a case-by-case basis, but it may still be too late for athletes to compete.

As a general rule, organizers say the panel will consider those who hold a positive test result for more than 14 days.

Those who test positive and have symptoms must be hospitalized for isolation. They will also need up to two days of a negative test to skip, as well as three days at a normal temperature and symptoms subside.

Organizers said athletes recovering from positive results before the Olympics will also be assessed on a case-by-case basis in a “more flexible” way.


Spectators from abroad will not be allowed. As for local fans, Beijing organizers said they were finalizing the rules for their attendance.

It is unclear how the recent outbreaks around China will affect decisions. But organizers of the Tokyo Olympics had also planned to allow some domestic fans, before scrapping the idea because of a surge in local cases. The result are surreal scenes of athletes competing in empty stadiums.

Even if some fans are allowed to go to Beijing, their presence will be muted. People were asked to clap instead of shouting or singing, as was planned in Tokyo.


Despite the proliferation of omicron fuels hitting many parts of the world including China, organizers were still able to hold the Olympics without as much disruption as some feared.

Dr Sandro Galea, a public health expert at Boston University, said: “And even if it’s harder with omicrons, he says it’s no mystery what people need to do to avoid infection – do it. precautions, such as limiting contact with others.


AP Sports writer Pat Graham contributed from Denver.

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