Jan 23, 2022 - Sports

Beijing Olympic Committee lowers COVID testing threshold ahead of Games

A security guard stands behind a barricade in an area not accessible to the general public, that will host Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at Olympic Park on January 23
A security guard in an area that will host the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at Olympic Park. Photo: Andrea Verdelli/Getty Images

Beijing Olympics organizers and Chinese authorities have lowered the threshold for producing a negative COVID-19 test for participants arriving to participate in the Winter Games, CBC reported on Sunday.

Catch up quick: Organizers for the Beijing Games had instituted testing standards tougher than those used by many sports leagues in the U.S. and Europe, per the Wall Street Journal.

  • The disparity prompted concerns that athletes could test negative in their home countries after recently recovering from COVID-19 but still test positive upon their arrival in China, per the Journal.

The big picture: Cycle thresholds (Ct) indicate how much magnification is needed to detect COVID-19, so higher Ct values correspond with less infectiousness.

  • The NBA and NHL use a Ct of 30, while the NFL has a Ct of 35, per CBC.
  • Beijing Olympics organizers and Chinese authorities have now lowered their threshold for participants from 40 to 35, making it easier for athletes to test negative, per CBC.

What they're saying: "In order to adapt to the reality of the current environment and further support of Games participants, Beijing 2022 and the Chinese authorities, in consultation with medical experts and IOC, refined the countermeasures with the following changes effective 23 January 2022," organizers said in a statement.

What to watch: The Beijing Winter Olympics kick off on Feb. 4.

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