It is a tumultous start for the Beijing Olympics 2022. This is not the first time though when China is facing censure over the games, as in 2008 also, the city had faced global criticism over the yellow smog seen overcasting the city.
China began a three-day countdown to the 2022 Winter Olympics this Wednesday. But the country can’t duck the questions, criticism and chaos.
Although, Beijing has made it amply clear to the world nations that it has already taken all the necessary coronavirus safety measures for 2022 Winter Olympics as they kick off on Friday.
But the concerns arise after reports of growing infection cases were reported at the Games, that too amongst the arriving athletes and officials.
Let us have a look at what all safety measures are in place there? And when it comes to China’s “zero Covid” policy, how successful it has been?
Beijing Olympics 2022: Covid protocols
It seems that China is trying its best to keep the fatal coronavirus at bay. Let us begin with the foreign spectators; they are barred and tickets are not on sale to the general public.
However, local spectators’ groups will be invited to the Events. They will have to observe strict Covid-19 prevention measures before, during and after watching the Olympics.
Also, people are advised not to travel into Beijing, from other parts of China. This step has been taken in order to prevent further spread of the virus. Beijing Olympics 2022 will go by China’s Covid playbook of harsher restrictions and protocols.
When it comes to Media, athletes and observers, they all will be kept in distinct bubbles; which means they must be fully vaccinated or spend 21 days in quarantine.
Covid testing is going on a daily basis in China and face masks are mandatory all the time. In case, anyone tests positive for COVID-19, will be put into isolation and only allowed to compete after getting two negative test results within 24 hours.
Same goes for the overseas participants, they will enter a bubble upon arrival in China and remain there until they leave. Olympics 2022 comes with the theme of “Together for a Shared Future”. But this time Together means safely sans Covid infection.
Beijing Olympics 2022 begins
The gala event will witness precautionary sealed bubbles. The local support workers such as volunteers, cooks and drivers among others will also be part of a sealed bubble. There will be absolutely zero physical contact with the outside world.
This is a protocol that now applies from housing, hospitals, locations for the Olympics 2022 to transport links. The concept of closed-loop airports and high-speed rail systems are already in place.
All the designated vehicles for Beijing Olympics 2022 personnel bear a special red sign on the front.
In order to keep a tight check on virus spread, China has already stopped issuing and renewing passports for ‘non-urgent purposes’. This applies to its own citizens also, both at home and abroad.
How China is containing the Covid spread?
Broadly speaking, China has been successful in containing the pandemic. Statistically, per million people, that’s around three deaths in China, compared with 2,500 in the US and 2,190 in the UK.
Infections have also gone down in Beijing. Yet, no country or organisation can deny the importance of avoiding mass gatherings during this pandemic. This is why, China is now tooting its own horn and not missing even a single opportunity to contain the virus spread. While, Beijing Olympics 2022 can said to be a big event for people all around the world but it has become more of a ‘bubble event’.
People, things, activities will only take place under the assigned bubbles.
Meanwhile, there have been concerns over the accuracy of its official data, but infection and death rates have been low as compared to other countries.
Yet, there is no denying that extreme steps sometimes end up taking a heavy toll on the people. China’s ‘zero-Covid policy’ is not taking into account the personal freedoms of the people.
China is at risk of further virus spread?
Concerns still remain whether China could be at the risk of widespread outbreaks? Specially the regions where restrictions were lifted too quickly?
Stricter rules mean preventing people from leaving their homes, they could not even step out to buy food or other essentials. This manifests mismanagement and lack of planning at national level when it comes to adhering to harsh restrictions like zero Covid policy.
There will be three zones in which the Games will be held. Along with Beijing, the two other areas are outside the capital.
Furthermore, the Joe Biden administration will not send official representation for Beijing Olympics 2022. The decision comes over what it calls China’s “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity” against Muslim Uyghurs.
China is known for muzzling dissent and its expansionist tendencies in the past, too have affected the US-Beijing ties.
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