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2022 Olympic Games: Beijing tightens sanitary restrictions for its Games by creating a more hermetic "bubble" than in Tokyo

2022 Olympic Games: Beijing tightens sanitary restrictions for its Games by creating a more hermetic “bubble” than in Tokyo

The Beijing Winter Olympics (February 4 to 20), which will be followed on Eurosport, will be, according to its organizers, the sporting event with the strongest health restrictions since the start of the Covid epidemic. Participants will evolve during their stay in China for the Olympic Games-2022 into a “closed loop“Tighter than the health bubble created for the Tokyo Olympics last summer.

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What is the “closed loop”?

China has successfully curbed the epidemic on its soil since mid-2020, thanks to a “Covid zero” strategy, which consists of doing everything (quarantines, containment, controls, reduction of international flights, mobile monitoring applications) to limit new cases . The organizers of the Winter Olympic Games will apply the same severity. They will develop all participants in what they call a “closed loop“where they will be isolated from the rest of the population.

Athletes, officials, delegations, volunteers: thousands of people will be in this health bubble, from their arrival in Beijing to their departure from the Chinese capital. At the Tokyo Olympics, journalists could leave the bubble after two weeks and mingle with the local population.

Tokyo Olympic Stadium, Friday July 23, 2021, the opening ceremony day of the 2021 Olympic Games

Credit: Getty Images

But in Beijing, no one will be able to leave the “closed loop” for the duration of the Games. Including accommodation, meals and travel between the three competition areas, sometimes 180 kilometers apart. People in the bubble who will use the high-speed train between the Olympic zones, for example, will have to sit in a car separate from the rest of the commuters.

Who will be in it?

Almost every. In Tokyo, athletes were also in a bubble. But there was some flexibility for some other participants, such as the army of volunteers who keep the Games running smoothly. Clearly, the Tokyo Olympics certainly had a bubble, but with holes. In Beijing, on the other hand, athletes, journalists, maintenance workers, cooks and bus drivers will all be in a tight bubble.

Organizers have not said how many people will be inside in total, but there will be nearly 3,000 athletes. If the Tokyo Games were to be held in nearly empty stadiums or gymnasiums, spectators will be allowed into Beijing, although their numbers are likely to be limited and none will be able to come from abroad.

The public will not be in the “closed loopTherefore, the organizers must ensure that they do not mix with athletes and delegations. People residing in China (athletes, volunteers, etc.) will have to quarantine themselves when they leave the bubble.

What are the rules?

Difference from Tokyo: All participants must be fully vaccinated (two doses) or undergo a 21-day quarantine upon arrival in China. The organizers do not impose booster doses. But the International Olympic Committee (IOC) “cheer strongly“to receive it before going to Beijing.

The headquarters of the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games Organizing Committee

Credit: Getty Images

Inside the bubble, everyone will be tested daily for coronavirus and must wear a mask at all times. In Tokyo, athletes taking a daily Covid test had to keep their mask on even on the podium, but were allowed to briefly remove it to take photos after the medal ceremony. The organizers of the Beijing Olympics should renew this rule.

The IOC also advises participants “Minimize physical interactions such as hugging, clapping, or shaking hands.The organizers have made it clear that those who do not follow the rules can be fired from the Games. Diplomats based in the Chinese capital told AFP that due to the strict rules for entering the bubble, they are concerned. Adequate assistance, in case of need, to their nationals in the interior.

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