BEIJING- Beijing Olympics organizers said Sunday (Jan. 23) that they had confirmed 72 cases of COVID-19 among 2,586 Games-related staff who entered China from Jan. 4-22 , excluding cases among 171 athletes and team officials who arrived during this period.
The final preparations for the Winter Games come amid a global surge in cases of the highly infectious Omicron variant coronavirus. The games are scheduled to take place in one from February 4th to 20th “closed circle” Bubble separating all event staff from the public.
Of the confirmed cases, 39 were found during testing at the airport and 33 inside the loop, organizers said. Bubble participants will be tested daily, with 336,421 PCR tests conducted from Jan. 4-22.
Brian McCloskey, chairman of the Beijing 2022 medical expert panel, said the numbers were consistent with those from last summer’s Tokyo Games and in line with expectations.
“We never set a goal of zero closed-loop cases,” he said in an online media briefing on Sunday.
All participants in the games require two negative PCR test results within 96 hours of leaving for China, and most are traveling on specially arranged charter flights.
Last week, organizers said tickets to the Olympics would not be sold to the general public due to COVID-19, but would instead be distributed to groups of people who need to take strict preventive measures before, during and after attending events.
China has managed to contain domestic outbreaks of COVID-19 since it first emerged in downtown Wuhan and has all but closed its borders to international arrivals. On Sunday the municipal government of Beijing further measures initiated to contain COVID-19 after nine locally transmitted cases were found the previous day.