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“Olympic bubble” without holes or hugs

Beijing: People take pictures of the Shougang Big Air venue hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics Big Air Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding Tournament at Shougang Park in Beijing. — AFP

Beijing: The Beijing Winter Olympics in February will be the toughest mass sporting event since the coronavirus pandemic. AFP Sport will look at what athletes and other people may face in the “bubble” and how it compares to last summer’s virus-delayed Tokyo Olympics.

What is a “closed loop”?

China, where the virus emerged at the end of 2019, is pursuing a “zero COVID” strategy and is taking a similarly nonsense approach to the Olympic Games from February 4th to 20th. Organizers cocoon a large bubble that includes almost everyone involved in the “closed loop”, virtually thousands, to limit the spread of the infection and keep the game running smoothly. I want it.

They will be there from the moment they land in the capital of China until the time they leave. For example, unlike Tokyo, where the media was able to leave the bubble and publish two weeks later, no one can leave the “closed loop” during the Beijing Games. This includes sleeping, dining and traveling between three gaming areas 180 km away. For example, people in a “closed loop” who use high-speed rail between Olympic zones are housed in different passenger cars.

Who is in it?

Almost everyone. In Tokyo, athletes remained a bubble, but were more flexible for other people attending the Games, such as the army of volunteers at the heart of the Olympic Games. Tokyo was a bubble, but there was a hole there. But in Beijing, athletes, media, volunteers, cleaners, cooks, and coach drivers all fall into the bubble. The organizers haven’t said how many, but there are nearly 3,000 athletes for beginners. The Tokyo Olympics were held in front of an almost vacant arena, but Beijing is expected to be crowded, but the number of spectators seems to be limited. Organizers need to stay out of the bubble with athletes and others, as fans don’t fall into a “closed loop”. People living in China need to be quarantined after breaking the bubble.

What are the rules?

Unlike Tokyo, everyone needs to be fully vaccinated. Otherwise, you will have to quarantine for 21 days when you land in China. The organizers do not claim that people have booster shots, but the International Olympic Committee says it is “strongly encouraged”. Everyone in the bubble should be tested daily for viruses and always wear a face mask. In Tokyo, it expanded to podium medalists, but after the medal award ceremony, it was allowed to easily remove the mask for the photo. Beijing seems to have the same rules.

People are also told to minimize “hugs, high fives, handshakes, etc.” social interactions, the IOC says. Beijing organizers have revealed that non-compliant people may be expelled from the tournament. A diplomat in the Chinese capital told AFP that the bubble looks impregnable and is worried that it may not be able to provide adequate support to the people inside. — AFP

https://news.kuwaittimes.net/website/olympic-bubble-with-no-holes-or-hugs/ “Olympic bubble” without holes or hugs

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