China keep-COVID-at-bay Beijing 2022 strategy


Beijing 2022 test events Image: VCG & CGTN

Leaving nothing to chance, China has recently completed a 10-day testing program – a kind of mock-up – for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics in a bid to gauge how it can prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the sporting showpiece as the virus variant continues to clobber several parts of the globe.

‘Xinhua’ stated that as part of the exercise (from April 1st to April 10th) around 600 spectators were queuing up to show their QR health code, scan tickets and go through security check on the square between the 80,000-capacity National Stadium and the 4,598-capacity National Aquatics Center – both facilities being in Beijing.

The 2022 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XXIV Olympic Winter Games and commonly known as Beijing 2022, is an international winter multisport event that is scheduled to take place from February 4th to February 20th, 2022 in Beijing and towns in the neighboring Hebei province, China.

The 2022 Winter Paralympics, officially known as the XIII Paralympic Winter Games, is an international winter multisport event for disabled athletes that are scheduled to take place in Beijing, People’s Republic of China, from March 4th to March 13th, 2022.

‘Xinhua’ further stated that the ‘Experience Beijing’ ice sports testing series lasted from April 1st to April 10th, 2021 at testing venues where skating, curling and ice hockey are due to take place.

The testing program, which was underway on the above dates, will put various facilities and procedures to test in a bid to lay solid foundation for delivering a successful Beijing 2022 and walking the extra mile to ensure that all players and everybody associated with the sporting extravaganza remains safe in a coronavirus-struck world.

A non-contact award ceremony was held several hours later, as athletes presented medals to each other amid thunderous applause of the spectators.

The above is just a snapshot of the testing program which also includes testing areas in epidemic prevention and control, spectator service, sports exhibition, and award ceremony.

Yang Jinshan, Deputy Director in charge of service in the 17,345-capacity Capital Gymnasium, the figure skating venue for Beijing 2022, is responsible for eight different areas: Registration, logistics, competition, sponsor, and language services. Roughly 1,800 accreditation cards were handed out by Jinshan one week prior to the testing program.

Sports exhibition is one specific segment added to the test program this time, with around 80 professional staff dispatched to five competition venues.

According to He Qiongshan, a Sports Exhibition Coordinator in the 17,345-capacity Capital Gymnasium in Beijing, each venue has three experienced foreign experts. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these experts trained the domestic staff and gave their feedbacks during the testing program via video link.

All competition venues have gone through upgrades with Beijing 2022 approaching. Advanced lighting system, sound equipments and screens have been fitted in the facilities.

The safety quotient will be of prime importance while staging all competitions, and epidemic prevention and control are a must at the present stage.

The Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (BOCOG) has laid out an epidemic prevention work plan. Venue operation teams have detailed respective work plans on the basis of the characteristics of each event. Medical staff and ambulances are in place, and closed-loop management and health monitoring on personnel was carried out during the testing program.

The venues also boast futuristic technology. Band-aid-like intelligent thermometers with chips inside have been employed in the 19,000-capacity Wukesong Sports Center in Beijing to monitor personnel’s real-time body temperature. With self-help obstacle avoidance navigation, logistics robots are shuttling within the working area and canteen to transport items.

With the help of 40 cameras and a 3D reconstruction of the visual, “free visual angle” technology allows spectators to choose their angle of watching matchups. It also functions in refereeing and players and coaches reviewing the game.

Noted Gao Bo from the Media Operations Department of the BOCOG, “We believe these technological innovations will bring Beijing 2022 to spectators the world over in a more spectacular way.”

A total of 1,026 volunteers are involved in 22 areas, including venue management, image and landscape, staff management, transportation, catering, sports, and anti-doping.

Sun Qi, a student of Renmin University of China (research varsity in Beijing), is a volunteer to serve the volunteers. Her job is to help volunteers solve their own problems and plan activities for them – “I was small when Beijing hosted the Summer Olympic Games in 2008. I feel fortunate to volunteer for Beijing 2022. Everyone needs to make their own contributions in this era.”

All stakeholders involved with the sporting extravaganza are pulling out all stops to ensure that COVID-19 does not cast its deadly shadow on Beijing 2022 and the event is held hitch-free.

Though they are racing against time, but the smile on every participant’s face throw enough hint that they are happy with the arrangements.

Concluded Yao Hui, Head, Venue Management Department, BOCOG, “We have carried out mock-ups of everything such as registration, award ceremony, sports exhibition, spectator experience, media operation and broadcast service, and transportation. The result is satisfying.”

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