Winter Olympics: Fully vaccinated domestic spectators will be allowed

Mumbai: All athletes and Games participants at next years Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing will not have to undergo mandatory quarantine if they are fully vaccinated and instead will enter the ‘closed-loop management system upon arrival and will be able to travel and train at the venues, according to the Covid-19 related Standard Operating Protocols (SOP) prepared by the organising committee for the Games.

Participants who are not fully vaccinated will have to undergo a 21-day quarantine upon arrival in Beijing for the Games that will be held from February 4-20, 2022. The Winter Paralympic Games will be held from March 4-13, 2022.

As of now, the Organising Committee has decided to only allow domestic spectators, and tickets will be sold only to those from mainland China that are fully vaccinated.

The participants, despite being fully vaccinated will also have to adhere to Covid-10 protocols like wearing a mark, sanitization, and social distancing. They will also be tested for Covid-19 daily.

The principles were presented by the Organising Committee for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Winter Paralympic Games (Beijing 2022) to the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)in Lausanne, Switzerland, in the presence of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), on Wednesday. Both the IOC and IPC have accepted these recommendations and they will be included in the playbooks that IOC will soon release.

These principles are based on wide-ranging consultations with international experts and the Chinese authorities, as well as the experience of Olympic and Paralympic stakeholders, the IOC said in a release.

On Wednesday, the Beijing 2022 organising committee informed the IOC Executive Board (EB) of the principles that will help deliver safe and successful Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games as scheduled.

According to the proposal., all vaccines recognised by WHO or related international organisations, or approved officially by the countries or regions concerned, will be accepted.

“From January 23 until the end of the Paralympics, a closed-loop management system will be implemented to ensure the safe delivery of the Games. This closed-loop management system will cover all Games-related areas, including arrival and departure, transport, accommodation, catering, competitions, and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Within the closed loop, participants will be allowed to move only between Games-related venues for training, competitions, and work. A dedicated Games transport system will be put in place,” the IOC release said.

Tickets will be sold exclusively to spectators residing in China’s mainland, who meet the requirements of the Covid-19 countermeasures.

Specific requirements on Covid-19 countermeasures for spectators from China’s mainland and the details of ticketing arrangements are under discussion and development and will be released to the public in due course once they are finalised.

The release said that Beijing 2022 and the IOC underlined that all activities are being assessed and optimised to focus on essential aspects of Games delivery. Stakeholders will apply this principle to their plans and delegation composition.

In line with this principle, the IOC EB decided to cancel the accompanying guest category for all stakeholders.

Besides athletes and some delegation officials accompanying athletes living in the Village, all participants travelling to Beijing will reside in Beijing 2022-contracted hotels that will be compliant with the Covid-19 countermeasures for the Games.

All domestic and international Games participants and workforce in the closed-loop management system will be subject to daily testing, the release added.

The IOC and IPC welcomed the decision to allow for the sale of tickets ‘o spectators residing in China’s mainland. This will facilitate the growth of winter sports in China by giving those spectators a first-hand Olympic and Paralympic experience of elite winter sports, as well as bringing a favourable atmosphere to the venues, the release said

However, all parties feel for the athletes and the spectators from around the world, knowing that the restriction on spectators from outside mainland China had to be put in place to ensure the safe holding of the Games this winter.

Further information about the implementation of these policies and additional information about Covid-19 countermeasures will be detailed in the Playbooks, which will be released in late October and December, the release said.

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