Athletes praise Games' closed loop management

2022-02-02 Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download
Special: 2022 Winter Olympics

Beijing 2022's dedicated volunteers will be on hand at venues to provide translation and information services, assist people with disabilities and handle any emergencies. (Photo/Xinhua)

Athletes of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics have said the closed-loop management and COVID-19 epidemic control measures have made them feel safe, allowing them to fully focus on preparing for the upcoming competitions.

Australian freestyle moguls skier Britteny Cox said the measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 make her feel secure and the loop is like a safe haven for athletes.

"I think the fact that every single person is doing tests every day gives me a lot of peace of mind. It just allows us to focus on what we're here for and that's competing. And I think the Chinese and the Olympic committee have done an incredible job at making sure that we're all safe and healthy, both for the local community here in China and for all the athletes and everyone involved in the games," she said during a news conference on Monday.

Kristin Skaslien, an athlete with Norway's mixed-doubles curling team said at a news conference on Monday that she has felt safe within the closed-loop upon her arrival. "It feels safe at the village. Due to the tight schedule of the competition, we won't have time to see the city even if we could."

Her teammate Magnus Nedregotten said the daily testing for COVID-19 required by the Playbook isn't a bother for him. "Although we need to be tested every day, it's a quick in-and-out process."

Australian chef de mission Geoff Lipshut said on Monday that he believes the testing is good because it helps keep everybody safe.

"Our athletes have been travelling to qualify for the Games for the past 18 months and they've been really careful every step of the way. It's part of how they go about their sport now. It's a matter of just doing what we've always done, which is be really careful, follow the rules, and that's our best protection, clearly," Lipshut said.

Victoria Persinger, a mixed doubles curling athlete from the United States, said:"The protocols coming here have been great. We're both a little paranoid but we've felt so safe with everything. I don't like the tests any more than I did the first time, but we've felt super safe with everything around COVID and I'm super grateful that these Games can happen."

The vast majority of people who've tested positive so far are well, with a lot asymptomatic. There have been 11 people hospitalized because they had shown symptoms. None of those are seriously ill, Brian McCloskey,chief of the Beijing 2022 Medical Expert Panel, said during a news conference on Wednesday.

"At the moment we've seen no signs (of a spread) within the closed loop. It's early days to look at all the gene sequencing, but at present that's not a problem we're particularly worried about," McCloskey said.

The main challenge is not the number of cases, it's an indication of whether there is spread within the closed loop. What we look for is indications of cases being linked to each other, he added.


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