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International Olympic Committee (IOC) has received further assurances from Chinese officials that Beijing 2022 will go ahead as planned despite worries over the rise in COVID-19 cases, Dubi told RTS.

The reassurance comes amid rising coronavirus figures across the world due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

France and the United States are among a number of countries experiencing record levels of COVID-19 cases.

The ongoing coronavirus crisis has also raised concerns in the IOC as it looks ahead to next month’s Winter Olympics.

“My main concern is the increase in the number of cases among athletes,” said Dubi to RTS.

“We obviously do not like to lose a few [athletes] weeks before the Olympics when they have made it their goal for many months.

“It is above all for them that we organise this incredible event.”

Speaking last month, Han Zirong, vice-president and secretary general of the Beijing 2022 Organising Committee, conceded that there are likely to be some COVID-19 cases during the Games.

Several high-profile winter athletes have missed World Cup events in recent weeks due to contracting COVID-19, while coronavirus-related disruption to the National Hockey League (NHL) season in Canada and the US has also led to the league’s players being unable to go to the Games.

The Chinese Government, which has implemented some of the most strict coronavirus prevention policies in the world as part of its “COVID zero” strategy, has told the IOC the Games will take place next month, Dubi assured.

“The Chinese Government has reminded us on several occasions, and again last Friday, that we are moving forward,” said Dubi, as reported by RTS.

“They are very confident.

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“They have set up an extremely sophisticated sanitary bubble that keeps all participants inside it.

“Athletes will have virtually no contact with the outside world and they will perform a PCR test every day.”

Beijing 2022 is putting in place a “closed-loop management system” whereby participants can only use dedicated transport to move between approved venues.

Those who are not fully vaccinated will have to undergo 21 days of quarantine in order to enter the system, while foreign spectators have been banned from the Games.

“China has chosen not to live with COVID-19, but to eradicate it,” said Dubi.

“In Tokyo, after two weeks there, we could get out of the health bubble, which could present a risk since there was a fairly high prevalence of the virus in Japan.

“Within the framework of the Beijing Olympics, we will remain ‘between us’ in the bubble, with no way out, which is much better from the point of view of the health and safety of the athletes.

“This is the major difference.

“For the rest, the device is identical, with many, many, many tests.

“For example, contact cases will be tested every 12 hours to ensure that they can continue to train and compete.”


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