Photo: IOC / Getty Images
With just 30 days to go until the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, the IOC today held a series of the traditional consultation calls with athlete representatives from around the world, the National Olympic Committees and the International Olympic Winter Sports Federations. They were also joined by the Beijing 2022 Organising Committee.
As Games participants start to arrive in the Chinese capital, everything is on track to stage safe Olympic Winter Games for all participants and the Chinese people, reported Juan Antonio Samaranch, Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for Beijing 2022. An update on the positive status of the preparations was also given to stakeholders by IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi and Olympic Games Operations Director Pierre Ducrey who, with their team, had just landed in Beijing today. Christophe Dubi emphasised that the closed-loop management system has begun operating, and the arrivals procedures have worked very smoothly.
He also explained that test events have been held successfully, and learnings from these test events have been incorporated into Games planning to ensure excellent conditions for the athletes to perform at the highest level.
It was stressed that now is a critical time for all Games participants who will travel to Beijing to be extra vigilant. They should already follow the measures laid out in the Beijing 2022 Playbooks, before their departure to Beijing.
IOC President Thomas Bach said: “Beijing starts now for all of us. We must do everything to ensure that the Olympic dreams of athletes are not taken away just days before departure. The Playbooks are not just a rule book – they should now be a way of life”.
During the calls, some of the Playbook rules were addressed again. The IOC Medical and Scientific Director, Dr Richard Budgett, emphasised that athletes and Games participants with an essential role can continue participating at the Olympic Games, even if they are defined as a close contact to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. A special regime for close contacts is in place for such cases, including testing twice a day and special arrangements for travel and dining. For example, conditions are in place to ensure the quality of meals, and athletes will also be able to draw on mental health support at all times.
Athletes and Games participants who test positive for COVID-19 and are asymptomatic will be discharged from quarantine once they have two consecutive negative COVID-19 (PCR) test results with at least 24 hours between the two samples and no other COVID-19 symptoms. They will then be released into the close-contact management system, i.e. tested twice per day, but allowed as a close contact to carry on their essential activities related to the Games without being isolated. For athletes, that means they would be able to continue training and competing. Each situation will be reviewed by a Medical Expert Panel (MEP) made up of top-level Chinese and international medical experts.
The stakeholders connected on all three consultation calls voiced their full support for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 and the measures in place to ensure the safety of all involved.
The International Olympic Committee is a not-for-profit, civil, non-governmental, international organisation made up of volunteers which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of USD 3.4 million goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.