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Beijing 2022 presents COVID-19 protocol to IOC

By SUN XIAOCHEN | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-09-30 06:29
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Singers perform on stage at a ceremony unveiling the slogan for Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, in Beijing, China September 17, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

International spectators will be barred from the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics, while all the Games' participants are encouraged to be fully vaccinated, according to Beijing 2022's COVID-19-prevention policies.

The Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee on Wednesday presented its key COVID-19 countermeasures for the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) during an IOC executive board meeting chaired by President Thomas Bach, in the presence of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Andrew Parsons, outlining its principles regarding key policies, including vaccination, Games-time closed-loop management, spectators and ticketing.

All athletes and Games participants who are fully vaccinated will enter the closed-loop management system, or known as "bio-secure bubbles", upon arrival, according to a press release from Beijing 2022. Games participants who are not fully vaccinated will have to enter a 21-day quarantine upon arrival in Beijing.

Athletes who can provide a justified medical exemption will have their cases considered. All vaccines recognized by the World Health Organization or related international organizations or approved officially by countries or regions concerned will be accepted.

From Jan 23, 12 days ahead of the Winter Olympics' opening on Feb 4, until the end of the Paralympics on March 13, a closed-loop management system will be implemented to ensure the safe delivery of the Games.

This closed-loop management system will 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, competition and work. A dedicated Games transport system will be put in place.

All domestic and international Games participants and workforce in the closed-loop management system will be subject to daily testing.

Given the grave and complicated situation of the COVID-19 pandemic globally, and to prevent a potential spread of the virus and ensure the safety of all Games participants, no tickets will be sold to spectators from outside the Chinese mainland. Tickets will be sold exclusively to spectators residing in the mainland, who meet the requirements of COVID-19 countermeasures.

Specific requirements on COVID-19 countermeasures for spectators from the mainland and the details of ticketing arrangements are under discussion and development and will be released to the public in due course once they are finalized.

Beijing 2022 and the IOC underlined that all activities are being assessed and optimized to focus on essential aspects of Games delivery. Stakeholders will apply this principle for their plans and delegation composition. In line with this principle, the IOC EB decided to cancel the accompanying guest category for all stakeholders.

Besides athletes and some delegation officials who are accompanying athletes living in the villages, all participants traveling to Beijing will have to reside in Beijing 2022-contracted hotels that will be compliant with the COVID-19 countermeasures for the Games.

Beijing 2022 will release the first version of the playbooks in late October and the second version in December. The related policies will be detailed in the playbooks.

Facing the uncertainty of the global COVID-19 situation, the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee, the IOC and the IPC are working closely together to address the situation and to keep the stakeholders informed.

To ensure the safety and health of athletes and all stakeholders, Beijing 2022 has always prioritized COVID-19 prevention and control to ensure that the Games are held safely as scheduled.

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