Games ‘bubble’ ahead of Beijing 2022


China venue staff enters bubble Image: Xinhua News Agency

A month away from the start of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics (China), Chinese authorities have recently commenced sealing up a Games ‘bubble’, with venues, transport and staff for now in a ‘closed loop’ at precincts in Beijing’s City Centre, Yanqing District and Zhangjiakou City.

The ‘Australasian Leisure Management’ stated that with the Chinese Government pursuing a zero-tolerance strategy on COVID-19, the same approach is being taken to limit the threat of the pandemic on the Winter Games – which run from February 4th to February 20th, 2022 – and the subsequent Winter Paralympics.

The 2022 Winter Olympics, officially the XXIV Olympic Winter Games and commonly known as Beijing 2022, are an upcoming international winter multisport event scheduled to take place from February 4th to February 20th, 2022 in Beijing and venues near neighboring towns of Yanqing and Chongli in the People’s Republic of China.

Starting as of January 4th, thousands of Games-related staff, volunteers, cleaners, cooks, and coach drivers are being cocooned in a ‘closed loop’ with no direct physical access outside each of the Games precincts.

Athletes, officials and media, who are expected to begin arriving soon, will remain in the bubble from the moment they land until they leave the country.

Anyone entering the bubble must be fully vaccinated or face 21-day quarantine when they touch down, and everyone inside will be tested daily and must wear face masks at all times.

Zhao Weidong, Head of the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games’ Media Department, said organizers are “fully prepared”, noting “hotels, transportation, accommodation, as well as our Science and technology-led Winter Olympics projects are all ready”.

The ‘Australasian Leisure Management’ further stated that fans will not be part of the closed loop, with organizers advising that will have to ensure that they do not mingle with athletes and others inside the bubble.

The system includes dedicated transport between venues, with even ‘closed-loop’ high-speed rail systems operating in parallel to those open to the public.

The isolation approach contrasts with the COVID-delayed Tokyo Summer Olympics – held between July 23rd and August 8th, 2021 – which allowed some movement in and out for volunteers and other personnel.

In his New Year address recently, Chinese President Xi Jinping said the country would spare no effort to present a great Winter Olympics to the world, advising “the world is turning its eyes to China, and China is ready”.

President Xi inspected preparations for the Games on January 4th at the National Speed Skating Oval, 30 days ahead of the opening ceremony.

During an earlier inspection in February 2019, President Xi had stressed that venue construction must meet Olympic standards and highlight the characteristics of technology, wisdom, environment, and frugality.

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