Beijing Olympics with 72 COVID cases, no athletes among early arrivals Reuters

© Reuters. A security guard stands near the closed-loop “bubble” of the main press center before the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, January 23, 2022. Reuters/Tyrone Siu

Tony Monroe

BEIJING (Reuters) – Beijing Olympic organizers said on Sunday that they had confirmed 72 cases of COVID-19 among the 2,586 Olympic-related personnel who entered China between Jan. 4 and Jan. 22, and those who arrived during that period There are no cases among the 171 athletes and team officials.

Final preparations for the Winter Olympics are underway amid a global surge in cases of the highly infectious Omicron coronavirus variant. The Olympics are scheduled to take place from February 4 to February 20 in a “closed loop” bubble that separates all event personnel from the public.

Of the confirmed cases, 39 were tested at the airport and 33 were tested inside the loop, organizers said. Participants in the bubble were tested daily, with 336,421 PCR tests performed from Jan. 4 to Jan. 22.

Brian McCloskey, chairman of the Beijing 2022 medical expert group, said the numbers were in line with those from last summer’s Tokyo Olympics and were in line with expectations.

“We never set a goal of zero cases in a closed loop,” he told an online media briefing on Sunday.

All Olympic runners are required to have two negative PCR tests within 96 hours of departure to China, and most runners travel on specially arranged charter flights.

Last week, organizers said that due to COVID-19, tickets for the Games would not be sold to the public, but instead distributed to those who need to take strict precautions before, during and after attending the event.

Since COVID-19 first emerged in the central city of Wuhan, China has managed to contain the domestic outbreak and nearly closed its borders to international arrivals.

On Sunday, the Beijing municipal government took further steps to contain COVID-19 after it detected nine locally transmitted cases the previous day.

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