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Beijing Games competitors to face daily COVID-19 tests, remain in closed loop

  • >> Reuters
    Published: 2021-10-26 10:15:59 BdST

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The Olympic flame is transferred from a torch to a cauldron at the ceremony to welcome the flame for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, in Beijing, China, Oct 20, 2021. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

Competitors in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics will be subject to daily tests for COVID-19 and will be required to remain in a closed loop that includes transport between the various games venues, organisers said in guidelines released on Monday.

China, where measures to tackle COVID-19 are among the world's strictest, has already said international spectators will not be allowed to enter the country for the Games which will run from Feb 4 to Feb 20.

China has all-but shut its borders to international travellers, with the number of international flights drastically reduced from pre-COVID levels, and games organisers said on Monday that domestic and foreign airlines will be encouraged to operate temporary flights available only to participants.

Games participants will need to be tested for COVID-19 before arrival, and athletes and team officials must be vaccinated to avoid 21 days in quarantine, with some exceptions for medical reasons granted on a case-by-case basis.

"We want everyone at the Games to be safe, that's why we're asking all participants to follow these guidelines," IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi said in a statement.

"Keeping everyone healthy will ensure the focus remains on the very fundamentals of the Olympic and Paralympic Games – the athletes and the sport."

Organisers added that the closed loop system has been designed to keep competitors safe by reducing unnecessary interactions.

Competitors will also be encouraged to wear masks and avoid spaces that are enclosed, crowded or involve close contact while every organisation taking part in the Games will be asked to nominate COVID-19 Liaison Officers.

Vaccination is not mandatory for the Beijing Games but some national Olympic committees, including that of the United States and Canada, are requiring team members to be vaccinated.