China enforces “zero COVID” policy in preparation for Olympics
Citing concerns of widespread COVID-19 infection, the Olympics organizing committee shortened the torch relay to only three days. The flame will be displayed in enclosed venues, and the brief route to Beijing will pass through the Great Wall, Beijing Olympic Park, and the Summer Palace. The 1,200 torchbearers will undergo health screenings and medical monitoring two weeks before the event starts on Feb. 2.
What other restrictions are there? Chinese officials instructed all athletes to monitor their temperatures for two weeks and take two negative PCR tests before flying to Beijing. The U.S. Olympic team’s top doctor reported every American athlete is fully vaccinated, and no one asked for an exemption. A limited number of spectators who buy tickets are allowed to watch the festivities, but they are not allowed to cheer. NBC announced it will keep its broadcasters at a site in Connecticut to report on the Games remotely. The National Hockey League also pulled its players from the Games, citing COVID-19 concerns. Beijing reported its first local omicron infection on Jan. 15. As of Friday afternoon, the city had seven new symptomatic cases and five asymptomatic cases.
Dig deeper: Read my report in The Stew about diplomatic boycotts of the Beijing Olympics.
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