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The anti-Covid health “bubble” was put in place around the sites of the Beijing Olympic Games, a month just before the start of the events which promise to be the most closely watched in the pandemic era.
China, where the pandemic was first detected at the end of 2019, has largely eradicated the disease by resorting to very strict screening, tracing, containment and vaccination measures. Its borders were practically closed in March 2020 and international flights drastically reduced.
In order to welcome the 3,000 athletes and their support staff for the Winter Olympics which will take place from February 4 to 20, a health bubble has been set up, to avoid any contact between people from abroad. and the local population outside this area.
“Very strict health measures”
On Tuesday, this “closed loop” was officially instituted, before the arrival of the first foreign participants. Barriers kept passers-by at a safe distance from facilities planned for the Games, such as the “Bird’s Nest”, the Olympic stadium where the opening ceremony will take place.
“Inside the closed loop, we will put in place very strict health measures, including daily tests for Covid-19, to ensure that cases of contamination are quickly detected”, explained Zhao Weidong , responsible for the communication of the Organizing Committee.
All foreign participants must be vaccinated, the others being subject to a 21-day quarantine. “We also strongly recommend receiving a booster dose,” Zhao Weidong said in an interview before placing the bubble.
“We are closely monitoring the new Omicron variant and its global impact,” he added, adding that he is in close communication with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) “to ensure that there will be room for maneuver in countermeasures depending on the epidemic situation “.
Reserved train cars
The Chinese athletes and staff inside the bubble (volunteers, drivers, cooks …) will not leave until after the Paralympic Games (which are to take place from March 4 to 13), after a period of quarantine.
Spectators (exclusively people residing in China) will not enter the bubble. When moving from one site to another, foreign participants will remain separated from the local population, for example with reserved cars on the high-speed train leading to the ski slopes.