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As the Winter Olympics and Paralympics edge closer, the world is still managing impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Ahead of the Games in Beijing, organizers have presented their COVID-19 countermeasures.
After the delayed 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games took place in empty arenas in Tokyo earlier this year, fans are allowed to be present at the 2022 Winter Games, which are due to get underway in Beijing in February — but only if they are residents in China.
On Thursday, the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee presented its COVID-19 countermeasures to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC). This included the sale of tickets "exclusively to spectators residing in China's mainland who meet the requirements of COVID-19 countermeasures."
As for participants in the Games themselves — including athletes, coaching teams and media — those who are fully vaccinated will enter a "closed-loop management system" upon arrival in Beijing. This acts effectively as a COVID-secure bubble which is supposed to cover "all games-related areas, including arrival and departure, transport, accommodation, catering, competitions, and the opening and closing ceremonies.
"Within the closed-loop, participants will be allowed to move only between games-related venues for training, competitions and work."
Organizers say that they will accept "all vaccines recognized by the World Health Organization or related international organizations," while athletes who can provide a "justified medical exemption" will have their cases considered.
Athletes and other participants who are not fully vaccinated will be obliged to enter a 21-day quarantine period upon arrival.
Daily testing will also be in place for all those inside the closed-loop "bubble" system, which will officially be in place from January 23, 2022, until the conclusion of the Paralympics on March 13.
mf/dv (AFP, AP)