Jan 29, 2022 - Sports

COVID infections rise in Beijing ahead of Winter Olympic Games

A police officer stands guard inside the closed loop bubble to protect against the spread of COVID-19 for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics near the main media center at the Olympic Park.
A police officer stands guard inside the closed-loop bubble to protect against the spread of COVID-19 for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics near the main media center at the Olympic Park. Photo: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Seventeen athletes and team officials at the Beijing Winter Olympics tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, with cases jumping from two to 19 in a day, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Government officials in Beijing have encouraged local districts to maintain "full emergency mode" as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the city prior to the Winter Olympic Games.

State of play: Thirty-six Games-related personnel have tested positive for COVID-19, including 29 cases when they arrived at the Beijing airport and seven more in the "closed-loop" system that is separated from the public, per Reuters.

  • Athletes must test negative twice within 96 hours of their flight and again once they arrive in Beijing.
  • "We are now just going through the peak period of people arriving in China and therefore we expect to see the highest numbers at this stage," the Games' medical chief, Brian McCloskey, said, per Reuters.
  • McCloskey added that COVID-19 infections are unlikely to leak out into the public.

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

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