China recognized on Tuesday that the new variant of the coronavirus Omicron will represent additional difficulties for the organization of the Winter Olympics in Beijing (February 4-20) but he said he was convinced that the event would take place.
“This will pose some challenges in the fight against the pandemic. But China has experience in the matter and I am fully convinced that the Olympic Games will be held without a problem,” said Zhao Lijian, spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
China managed to contain the pandemic in its territory thanks to draconian measures: greatly limiting international flights, mandatory quarantine for newcomers, mass diagnostic tests and isolation in case of contact with someone infected.
Life resumed its normal course towards March 2020, but the country continues to register sporadic outbreaks.
The Chinese borders have been closed since March 2020 and the Beijing Winter Olympics will be held within a health bubble of which The 2,900 participating athletes will not be able to leave.
All will have to be vaccinated and respect a quarantine of 21 days upon arrival. In addition, they will undergo daily diagnostic tests.
Only spectators residing in China will be able to attend the tests.
“The tests before departure, the vaccination policy”, the rigorous health bubble and the detection systems “are crucial elements that will allow the Games to be held in complete safety,” the International Olympic Committee assured AFP on Tuesday ( COI).
The second version of the devices (“playbooks”) with all the sanitary measures will have to be delivered “at the beginning of December”, according to the IOC, and the predispositions may be “adapted” according to the evolution of the pandemic.
Regarding the omicron variant, “China has done what is necessary in terms of technological preparation,” said Xu Wenbo, a specialist in viral diseases at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
China has not yet registered cases of the Omicron variant in the country, although there have been cases in the semi-autonomous territory of Hong Kong.