Saturday, October 16, 2021

No overseas spectators allowed for Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, all WHO approved vaccines accepted for participants

China will not allow overseas spectators to attend the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics scheduled in February next year. At a meeting on Wednesday, Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee made it clear to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board that tickets will be sold exclusively to spectators residing in the Chinese mainland who meet the requirements of COVID-19 countermeasures.
The IOC said in a press release that all athletes for Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics and all Games participants who are fully vaccinated will enter a closed-loop management system upon arrival in Beijing. Games participants who are not fully vaccinated will have to serve a 21-day quarantine upon arrival in Beijing. All vaccines recognized by the World Health Organization or related international organizations or approved officially by countries or regions concerned will be accepted. Athletes who can provide a justified medical exemption will have their cases considered. All domestic and international participants, as well as the workforce in the system, will be daily tested for COVID-19, the IOC press release said.
The closed-loop management system, to be implemented from January 23, 2022, until the end of the Paralympics on March 13, 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, competitions, and work. A dedicated Games transport system will be put in place. Specific requirements on COVID-19 countermeasures 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. The IOC Executive Board meeting was chaired by President Thomas Bach, in the presence of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) president Andrew Parsons.
With this, Beijing is poised to become the world’s first city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics albeit at a time when lot of controversies surround this as calls grow for a diplomatic boycott over Beijing’s alleged human rights abuses and allegations over Beijing’s alleged mishandling of the initial outbreak of COVID-19. For more than a year, China has been following a tough though debatable “zero tolerance” strategy to swiftly stamp out domestic COVID-19 flare-ups. It has also closed its borders to most foreigners for more than 20 months now. With Beijing allowing domestic spectators, it will be difficult to manage tens of thousands of people, potentially for several weeks and a challenge for its ‘zero COVID’ strategy.

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