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Beijing Winter Olympics organisers say growing COVID-19 cases are "within controllable range"

Beijing Winter Olympics organisers say growing COVID-19 cases are "within controllable range"

Medical personnel wearing personal protective equipment sit by the rink at the National Indoor Stadium on Feb 1, 2022, as the Czech ice hockey team trains ahead of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. (Photo: Reuters/David W Cerny)

BEIJING: The COVID-19 situation at the Beijing Winter Olympics is within the "expected controllable range", despite an increase in positive cases being detected, a senior official at China's Olympics Pandemic Prevention and Control Office said on Tuesday (Feb 1).

The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Organising Committee has reported 200 COVID-19 cases since Jan 23 among airport arrivals and those in the Games' "closed loop" bubble that separates all event personnel, including athletes, from the public.

"As more people are entering China, the imported COVID-19 cases are increasing," said Huang Chun, deputy director general of the committee's Pandemic Prevention and Control Office at a press briefing.

Huang said that rising cases were also a result of more effective and accurate COVID-19 detection techniques by customs.

Organisers reported a total of 24 new COVID-19 cases among Games-related personnel on Jan 31, of which 16 were athletes.

Many athletes have been shut out from the Games, which will run from Feb 4 to 20, after testing positive on arrival at the airport. Many more have been put in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19 while not showing any symptoms.

"Getting to the Olympics is never easy, and this time, as a new mom, it has been the most challenging," Elana Meyers Taylor, a three-time Olympic medallist in bobsled, wrote on social media from her isolation hotel.

China credits strict COVID-19 control measures, including frequent nucleic acid testings, with helping to prevent clustered cases inside the closed loop.

"(The COVID-19 situation) is generally within our expected controllable range. So the Games participants, including athletes, and Chinese public do not have to worry," said Huang.

He said that Olympics organisers were not considering any major changes to COVID-19 control policies at the Games.

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Source: Reuters/kg

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