The 2022 Winter Olympics started on February 4th, in Beijing, China. As Covid-19 continues to ravage across the world, the Winter Olympics has strict Covid protocol to keep the spread minimum to none.
All participants of the Olympics must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to arrival in Beijing to avoid quarantine. Athletes who are excused must have a history of allergic reaction to a component of the vaccine or using immunosuppression medication. If not vaccinated, athletes must be quarantined in Beijing for 21 days.
Beijing has a closed loop system where athletes, coaches, and staff are required to test every day to ensure a Covid safe space. There are designated transportation systems designed to transport participants to their needed destination, according to Beijing Olympics published protocols.
“This is to ensure there is no contact with the general public or anyone outside of the closed loop,” according to the playbook which is the safety guidelines the Olympics follow.
The Olympic committee created the playbook to give direction to decrease the amount of times athletes come in contact with each other. It is recommended for athletes to avoid hugs, handshakes, and to avoid indoor spaces or large crowds. Masks are to be worn at all times unless eating, drinking, sleeping, training, competing, alone, during interviews, stand-ups, and live presentations.
Games officials are expecting for Covid-19 cases to increase. The Olympic medical experts set their goals to have zero spread. Once an athlete tests positive he or she is immediately removed from the Games and the Olympic Village. If symptomatic they will be taken to a hospital while asymptomatic athletes will be in an isolation facility.
Many athletes who tested positive complain about their living and treatment conditions while isolating. Many athletes feel isolated, alone, mistreated, and degraded. Covid protocols in Beijing are stricter than some countries that are attending the Olympics. An athlete, after passing her quarantine, was not returned to the Olympic Village instead, they brought her to another isolation facility entirely.
“My stomach hurts, I’m very pale and I have huge black circles around my eyes. I want all this to end. I cry every day. I’m very tired,” Russian biathlon competitor, Valeria Vasnetosva, posted on Instagram.
Spectators have been allowed to attend events. Very few spectators are in attendance with 150,000 in total. Fans from other countries are not allowed to attend. Tickets are not being sold; however, a selection process is in place. Groups of spectators are selected from a program to be allowed in the Games.