China has announced that the Beijing Winter Olympics set to start in February next year will be held on a minimum scale. It plans to reduce unnecessary activities and procedures and greatly cut down on the number of staff for the Olympics as a way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Games released Monday the first edition of the official manual containing COVID-19 infection prevention and control rules for the Olympics, according to the Chinese media. The manual applies to athletes and officials and there could be further editions.
According to the manual, Olympics will be held in a “closed-loop” management system, where transportation, accommodation, facilities, stadiums and training centers are connected and operated as one. As if covered with a bubble, participants will stay in closed areas that are completely isolated from outside. Participants are allowed to move to and from limited spaces and must be tested for COVID-19 on a daily basis. Unvaccinated participants will have to serve a 21-day quarantine upon arrival in Beijing.
With the Beijing Olympics set to be held with limited number of personnel, volunteers, who used to work for the convenience of athletes, are likely to disappear from Olympic venues as well. Unlike the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which were held without spectators, limited number of spectators will be allowed entry at the Beijing Olympics. But those from outside mainland China will not be allowed to attend the Games.
Meanwhile, actions to boycott the Beijing Olympics are continuing in the U.S. and the European Union (EU) ahead of the upcoming Olympics. Experts, however, say boycott is unlikely to actually happen. “The U.S. is recently giving conciliatory signals to China,” said Kim Heung-gyu, a political science professor and Diplomacy at Ajou University. “Discord with China could have a negative impact on the Biden administration within the U.S. Washington will not be willing to take that risk ahead of next year’s midterm elections.”
Ki-Yong Kim email@example.com