Saturday, September 24

Beijing will shield itself with an authentic Olympic bubble



After the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the world of sports is already preparing for those of winter in Beijing, which will take place from February 4 to 20, 2022 and the Paralympics from March 4 to 13. Like those in Japan, they will be different Games by coronavirus pandemic, which forces us to take special measures to prevent contagion. And more so in China, the country that imposes the most restrictions and controls within its strict ‘Covid 0’ policy. With the strict controls that exist in the country, Beijing Winter Games they will be even more different, and closed, than those in Tokyo.

As in the Japanese capital, there will be no foreign spectators at the competitions because China Its borders have been closed since March last year and only nationals and expatriates with work permits can enter. But, unlike Japan, Yes, the attendance of the local public will be allowed, which will have to comply with a series of sanitary requirements to access the Olympic facilities. Waiting for them to be announced later, most likely viewers will be required PCR testing before attending an event. It will also be necessary to see what is the capacity allowed in each facility.

What is already known is that these Games will be held in a bubble for all participants, both foreigners and nationals. If they are vaccinated, athletes, members of the Olympic committees, technicians of the organization and journalists who come from outside China will enter directly into a closed circuit from which they will not be able to leave until they leave the country. Operational since January 23, twelve days before the inauguration, said ‘biosafety bubble’ will include the Olympic villages in Beijing and Zhangjiakou, sports facilities, press, data and broadcast centers, airport arrivals and departures, transportation between venues and hotels and restaurants for participants. With this ban on leaving restricted areas, they will not be able to mingle with the public or wander freely through the streets of Beijing for sightseeing or shopping or to a restaurant.

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In addition, those who are not vaccinated will have to keep a quarantine of 21 days locked in a hotel room. If someone cannot be vaccinated for health reasons, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the organizers will study your case individually.

PCR tests daily

Although Tokyo Games They also envisaged a bubble and quarantines of between three and fourteen days for newcomers to Japan, their application was so lax that few followed them. In the three-day quarantines, it was allowed to leave the hotel room to buy food. Although there was a guard at the door and a sheet to write down the name and the time of departure and arrival, almost no one wrote it down and there was no problem. Similarly, the organization made available to participants exclusive buses to travel to the Olympic facilities and even gave them coupons for special taxis worth 140,000 yen (1,086 euros). But it was not impeded to take public transport or move freely through the streets even before the first two weeks, when in theory only the Olympic vehicles should be used and it was recommended not to go to restaurants, shops or bars. Taking into account the controls in China, the situation will be very different in Beijing 2022.

As in Tokyo, there will also be coronavirus tests, but daily instead of every three days. Their negative results will turn the QR codes on the mobile green to be able to move inside the Olympic bubble. Along with Beijing, where stadiums from the 2008 Games will be used as ‘The Nest’ and the ‘Water Cube’, the venues for mountain sports are Yangqing, on the outskirts of the capital, and Zhangjiakou, 220 kilometers away and connected by a high-speed train. To go there, you will have to travel on the exclusive closed-circuit transport.

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In addition to the athletes, who will be confined to the Olympic villages, the members of national committees, technicians of the organization and journalists they will have to stay in licensed hotels within the bubble. Pending the release of the first Games manual at the end of this month, it seems that this rule will also apply to participants already within China. Although they live in Beijing, they will not be able to get out of the bubble every day to return home and must stay in these hotels. When the Games or their participation are over, they will have to quarantine for two or three weeks before leaving the bubble, as if they came from abroad.

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