China reports 37 new COVID-19 cases among Olympic personnel
BEIJING – China detected 37 new cases of COVID-19 among people linked to the Olympic Games on Sunday, up from 34 a day earlier, the organizing committee of the Beijing 2022 Winter Games said.
Twenty-eight of the new cases were people who tested positive after arriving at the airport, including eight athletes or team officials due to take part in the Feb. 4-21 Games, organizers said on Monday in a notice on the Games’ website.
Authorities are imposing strict health measures for the Games with participants, staff and media operating in a “closed loop” bubble separating them from the public.
The loop allows participants to move freely between their accommodation and Olympic venues on official transport but they are not allowed out to move freely in public.
In contrast to many countries seeking to live with COVID-19, China has isolated itself with a zero-tolerance policy, canceling nearly all international flights.
Olympic athletes and others must fly directly into the city on charter flights. Everyone involved in the Games, including media and staff, is also being tested daily.
The world’s leading women’s ski jumper, Marita Kramer of Austria, tested positive ahead of her flight to Beijing and will now delay her departure as she attempts to get fit in time for her competition.
Kramer, who leads the women’s overall World Cup standings ahead of Germany’s Katharina Althaus and topped the podium in eight of her last 11 competitions, tested positive in Willingen, Germany, the last competition ahead of the Games.
“Officials are at the moment working on a time plan in order to make it possible for the World Cup leader to take part in the Olympic Games in Beijing,” the Austrian ski federation said.
Kramer has no symptoms and no other team member tested positive.
There was also good news for the Australian curling team after one of its athletes returned two negative tests following an initial positive in the Chinese capital on Sunday.
Curler Tahli Gill and teammate Dean Hewitt had been in isolation for two days after Tahli tested positive at Beijing airport.
“We are greatly relieved as a team, that goes without saying. But importantly for us both as a team, this experience is not going to define our Olympic campaign. We have treated this time as a rest day and a time to really focus on our Olympic goals,” the two said in a statement.