Inside Beijing’s Winter Olympics Bubble

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Winter Olympics 2022 is going to be Beijing’s showcase event this year. A major component is the ‘Olympic Bubble’ which isolates athletes.

  • With just a day to go for the Winter Olympics 2022 to begin, China is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that all arriving athletes, personnel and journalists follow strict Covid protocols.
  • In order to ensure China maintains its ‘zero Covid’ strategy, Beijing has been divided into four bubbles, connected by buses and high-speed rails, which will be completely isolated from citizens.
  • Over 30,000 athletes and their personnel, upwards of 20,000 Chinese staff will be confined to the bubbles and will not be allowed to leave it under any circumstances.
  • Athletes are expected to enter their temperature readings on a special app, undergo daily PCR tests and will have to follow strict protocols in case they test positive or are deemed close contact.
  • China will be opening up its Great Firewall, so that athletes and staff can access regular internet sites and apps. Many governments have asked people to carry burner phones to avoid surveillance.
  • Reactions about life inside the Olympic Bubble have so far been positive as athletes feel the measures taken do reduce the stress of catching Covid inside the bubble.
  • Even hotels inside the bubble have staff in blue and white full-body Hazmat suits. In some venues, robots are being employed to make and serve food to avoid human contact.
  • Staff working in the bubble aren’t allowed to leave or enter it without undergoing a 21-day quarantine. This effectively means, they won’t be celebrating Lunar New Year with their family.
  • The logistics of organizing and running this Olympics will be close to, if not as exciting, as the Games itself. One can only feel for athletes who have to undergo additional stress of daily testing.
  • In this reading, we understand how China is intent on pulling this massive event while ensuring the country’s ‘zero Covid’ policy remains intact, Omicron be damned.
The New York Times
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