Beijing Olympics exclude foreign fans over viral threat

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BEIJING – The Beijing Winter Olympics in February will be held without foreign spectators and athletes must be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus or face a 21-day quarantine, the International Olympic Committee has said.

The measures, which allow spectators living in mainland China, were revealed just four months away from the Games and after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, they also juggled how to proceed safely during the pandemic.

The Tokyo Games, which were postponed for a year due to the health crisis, were mostly held without spectators to avoid infections.

Another difference with Tokyo will be that all participants must be vaccinated or will have to do a 21-day quarantine upon arrival in the Chinese capital. Athletes who can provide a “justified medical exemption” will have their case reviewed.

Upon arrival, all participants will enter a strict “bubble” that will cover Games-related areas and stadiums, as well as accommodation, transport, catering and the opening and closing ceremonies.

The decisions, announced by the IOC but taken by the Chinese organizers, are a foretaste of a package of measures to be published in October aimed at preventing the Games from becoming a source of contamination.

All national and international Games participants and the workforce in the bubble, known as the “closed-loop management system”, will be tested daily.

The 2022 Beijing Olympics, which face calls to boycott rights groups, are scheduled for February 4-20.

The IOC said that allowing domestic fans “will facilitate the growth of winter sports in China by providing these spectators with a first-hand Olympic and Paralympic experience of elite winter sports, as well as creating an atmosphere. favorable on the sites “.

Speaking at Beijing’s Olympic Park on Thursday, residents said safety must come first, even if that means overseas fans are going missing.

“I think it’s the right thing to do because overseas spectators can watch it live,” said Zhang Xinyu, 29.

“But if there are a lot of people traveling, it won’t be safe for athletes or foreign guests.”

China, where the coronavirus emerged in late 2019, has reduced the number of local infections to a trickle by deploying aggressive mass testing and keeping its borders extremely narrow. – France Media Agency


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