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Beijing Games see 55 Covid cases in highest daily tally

Participants in Beijing are confined to a 'closed loop' in order to prevent contact with the general public, moving between accommodation and Olympic venues on official transport.

AFP
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A health worker collects a swab sample from a journalist to test for Covid-19 at the parking lot of a hotel in Beijing on Feb 2, ahead of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Photo: AFP
A health worker collects a swab sample from a journalist to test for Covid-19 at the parking lot of a hotel in Beijing on Feb 2, ahead of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Photo: AFP

A total of 55 new Covid-19 infections were found among Olympic Games-related personnel on Feb 2, the chair of the Beijing 2022 medical expert panel said on Thursday, the highest daily tally so far.

Twenty-nine cases were found among new airport arrivals, Brian McCloskey told the International Olympic Committee session the day before the Games’ official opening, while 26 were among those in the “closed loop” bubble that separates all event personnel from the public.

Since Jan 23, there have been 287 positive tests among Games-related personnel from a total of 610,000 tests.

“The numbers are very small,” McCloskey said. He said once all participants arrived the numbers would start to drop.

“We are confident that the system will work. But we are not relaxed. We keep all measures in place,” McCloskey said.

Participants in Beijing are confined to a “closed loop” in order to prevent contact with the general public, moving between accommodation and Olympic venues on official transport.

Every Games participant is also tested on a daily basis in an effort to identify any infections within the loop quickly.

In contrast to many countries seeking to live with Covid-19, China has adopted a zero-tolerance policy, which has involved strict border controls and cancelling nearly all international flights.

All Olympic participants are arriving on charter flights.