Monday, December 4, 2023

Winter Olympics 2022: Some 50 athletes test positive for Covid-19 before Beijing games

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Amid China’s zero-COVID policy, around 50 foreign athletes scheduled to take part in the Beijing Winter Olympics have tested positive for the coronavirus. NHK World tallied up announcements by national sporting associations and online posts by Olympians. As of Tuesday, 53 athletes from 12 countries and the Russian Olympic Committee were confirmed positive for COVID-19. Nine of them have been deprived of the opportunity to compete in the Games. They include a snowboarder from Slovenia and members of Sweden’s ice hockey team.

That comes after medal-favourite Austrian ski jumper Marita Kramer was removed from the Olympic entry list after becoming infected with the virus, reported NHK World. More than 20 athletes are in isolation either in China or at home. They include a Japanese skier who tested positive after arrival. This comes as China is struggling with fulfilling its claim of making the country COVID free for the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022.

The Chinese authorities are willing and doing, everything that is required to keep the caseload to remain at zero. Despite strict protocols, some regions in China are reporting fresh cases daily. China has implemented zero local transmissions, an official policy, at the cost of people’s freedom and violation of rights. Despite the strict monitoring, cases have been detected over the past week in the country’s largest cities. The playbook said that athletes will be discharged from isolation if they have two consecutive negative PCR test results with a sample interval of at least 24 hours, reported NHK World.

The playbook was published ahead of the Olympics in February 2022 which has been marred with controversy. Several countries including US, UK and Canada have announced a diplomatic boycott of the event over rights abuses in the country. The rule book also mentions a special “closed-loop” system that will be in place during athletes’ entire stay to reduce unnecessary interactions and avoid their mixing with the general public.

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