The Winter Olympics in February is scheduled to be the most restrictive mass sporting event since the outbreak began, with international spectators barred and all competitors required to remain inside a closed-loop system.

Officials in China said on Thursday that they were prepared for coronavirus epidemics inside the Winter Olympics bubble, with preparations in place to transport symptomatic athletes to designated Beijing hospitals.

The Olympics in February is intended to be the most restricted mass sporting event since the outbreak began, with overseas spectators barred and all competitors required to stay inside a closed-loop system.

At a press conference, Beijing Olympics virus control official Huang Chun said, "There will undoubtedly be illnesses, and there is a likelihood of a small-scale cluster epidemic emerging," adding that the enormous number of people engaged will have a "very high risk of transmission."

Another organizing committee official, Han Zirong, remarked, "There will be a certain amount of positive examples." "This is a very likely occurrence."

China, which was the first country to detect Covid-19, has reduced new cases to a trickle by enacting a strong "zero-Covid" approach that includes strict border controls, targeted lockdowns, lengthy quarantines, and population tracing technology.

Even a single incidence can result in immediate restrictions, and officials who are found to have failed to regulate Covid-19 are frequently fired.

For China's leaders, hosting a large number of foreigners for the Winter Olympics remains a high-risk endeavor.

All athletes and workers inside the bubble must undergo daily viral testing and health monitoring in addition to obligatory vaccines before flying to China.

Due to the global spread of the Omicron variety, officials highly advised athletes to undergo a booster shot.

They also gave instructions to the small number of home onlookers.

"We encourage fans to clap to support athletes, but we don't recommend that they remove their masks to sing or shout," Han added.

Athletes who test positive for the virus are unable to compete.

Patients who are asymptomatic will be taken to on-site quarantine facilities, while those who are symptomatic will be moved to hospitals in Beijing and Zhangjiakou that specialize in treating Covid-19 patients, according to Huang.

According to Beijing health commission official Li Ang, wards for treating athletes' medical difficulties have been established at four Beijing hospitals, as well as a total of 88 on-site treatment stations at the three Olympic tournament venues.

During the Winter Olympics Test Events in October, a Polish luge athlete who was severely hurt in a training accident slammed the track team's medical care protocols, accusing them of "gross ineptitude."

The incident was investigated by Beijing 2022 organizers and luge officials.

Three competitors tested positive with Covid-19 during the Test Events.

The instances were "were managed immediately and successfully, and the viral transmission and spread did not occur," according to officials.

"The Chinese government's virus prevention and control guidelines and requirements must be strictly followed by the Winter Olympics and Paralympics," Han said.


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