Covid-19 detected in recent arrivals at Beijing Winter Olympics

A general view of the Beijing Olympic Tower in Beijing on January 16. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Cases of Covid-19 have been detected in recent arrivals to Beijing for the upcoming Winter Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Positivity for incoming tests is 1.53% and for regular screening tests inside the closed loop 0.02%,” the statement said, adding that no infections occurred. in the closed loop.

“So far, all cases are within five days of arrival and are therefore assessed as imported (contracted before arrival in Beijing),” he said.

As of 11:38 p.m. local time on Wednesday, around 1,800 people had arrived in Beijing for the Games, including Olympic athletes, officials and other IOC members and media, according to the official Beijing Olympics app for persons accredited to the Games.

In total, nearly 11,000 people are expected. More than a fifth of those arrivals are expected by the end of Friday, according to the app.

“In a fully immunized population with daily PCR testing, the risk of an individual becoming infectious before testing positive on screening tests is almost zero,” the statement said.

Entering the closed-loop system requires all arrivals – including officials, athletes and media – to test negative twice before flying to Beijing.

Incoming travelers will also be tested upon arrival and daily once closed loop.

If a person tests positive and is symptomatic, that person will be transferred to a hospital; if asymptomatic, that person will be transferred to an isolation center. A person will need two negative tests before re-entering the closed loop.

If deemed a close contact, a person could be subject to enhanced daily testing and countermeasure policies.

“All of the data to date provides reassurance that daily PCR testing combined with the isolation and close contact policies in place mean that the closed loop is very safe and that there are no infectious participants in the interior,” added the IOC.

Cycle threshold (CT) values, which provide information about the amount of viral genetic material in a sample, are also being evaluated. Generally, higher CT values ​​indicate reduced infectivity. The maximum CT value for a sample to be assessed as positive is 40, according to the IOC.

He also said Beijing 2022 was finalizing a process to shorten the approval timeframe for athletes and officials who had a positive Covid-19 infection within 30 days of entering the country.

Similar to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, all participants in the Beijing Winter Olympics have received a comprehensive manual from the IOC outlining the Games’ recent countermeasures and requirements against Covid-19.

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