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Olympic athletes, team staff and journalists arriving at the Beijing 2022 Winter Games next February will need to be vaccinated – or face a three-week “hard quarantine” period that lasts longer than the Games themselves. themselves. This is according to the new guidelines of the International Olympic Committee.
Strict quarantine requires a participant to stay in a tightly controlled area, such as a hotel room. To avoid this requirement, anyone visiting China for the Olympics will need to be vaccinated at least 14 days prior to arrival.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic underway, absolutely no one involved in the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games can afford to be complacent,” said Colleen Wrenn, the Committee’s Paralympic Games delivery manager. international paralympic.
Daily coronavirus tests will be mandatory
Daily PCR testing will also be required, according to the new COVID-19 Olympics ‘playbooks’ that were released on Monday. The requirements were created by the International Olympic Committee, Beijing organizers and the Chinese government.
“If you’ve been to the Games before, I know this experience will be different in many ways,” said Juan Antonio Samaranch, who chairs the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games Coordination Commission. But he added that the restrictions are the only way to keep the Games safe during a pandemic.
The policies are stricter than those used at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics, where athletes were to be tested multiple times on their trip to Japan – but then had to be quarantined for three days. The athletes also underwent daily tests in Tokyo.
Exceptions to the vaccine rule will be for medical reasons only
It is too early to know what impact the politics might have on Team USA, especially as many event lists are yet to be finalized. But the United States was lagging behind many other major delegations at the Tokyo Olympics. About 100 of the more than 610 American Olympians who went to Japan did so without being vaccinated.
In Beijing, the vaccine requirement can be lifted “on a case-by-case basis, based on medical reasons,” organizers said. The policy does not mention religious beliefs or other conditions that frequently allow exceptions to the vaccine rules in the United States
Visitors will be limited to travel to “authorized destinations”
Athletes, media and others visiting China for the Winter Games will also be limited to a “closed loop”, where they will be as separated as possible from the locals. They are “only allowed to travel in dedicated vehicles between authorized destinations,” the playbooks say.
“This is to ensure that all COVID-19 countermeasures are strictly followed and that there is no contact with the general public or anyone outside of the closed loop,” the playbook states. Many of these conditions are similar to the approach of Japanese organizers of the Tokyo Olympics, which have been postponed for a year due to the pandemic.
Beijing Olympics start in about 100 days
The opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics will take place on February 4; the Games will end on February 20. The Paralympic Winter Games will be held from March 4 to 13.
The recently released playbooks – one for athletes and teams, another for media – are the first edition of the COVID-19 rules for the Beijing Olympics; an update is expected to arrive later this year.
“By developing the Playbooks, we have made protecting the safety and health of all participants in the Games, including athletes, as well as the Chinese people, a top priority,” said Han Zirong, secretary general of the committee. Beijing 2022 organization.
Unlike most Tokyo Summer Olympics events, spectators will be allowed to attend Beijing Winter Olympics events in person, but only if they are from mainland China.