Bach emphasizes playbooks as a way of life as Olympic closed-loop management system begins operation

The closed-loop management system for Beijing 2022 began operating this week as the one month to go milestone for the 2022 Winter Olympics passed. The attention of those within the Olympic movement is now firmly focused on avoiding positive tests and gaining entry into the closed-loop management system.

Guardar

Nuevo

Workers walk at Big Air Shougang, a competition venue for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, are seen through a fence at Shougang Park, the site of a former steel mill, in Beijing, China, December 28, 2021. Picture taken December 28, 2021.  REUTERS/Thomas Peter
Workers walk at Big Air Shougang, a competition venue for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, are seen through a fence at Shougang Park, the site of a former steel mill, in Beijing, China, December 28, 2021. Picture taken December 28, 2021. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) held a series of consultation calls with stakeholders regarding the upcoming Winter Olympics on Wednesday. Athlete representatives, National Olympic Committees (NOCs), and international sports federations were updated on preparations for the 2022 Winter Olympics, with a focus on the COVID-19 countermeasures in place for Beijing 2022.

IOC President Thomas Bach stressed the importance of living by his organization’s COVID-19 playbooks, stating, “Beijing starts now for all of us. We must do everything to ensure that the Olympic dreams of athletes are not taken away just days before departure. The playbooks are not just a rule book – they should now be a way of life.”

For many in the Olympic movement, the main fear associated with COVID-19 has shifted from personal health concerns to the ramifications of a positive test. Athletes who test positive for the virus before, or upon arrival in Beijing, could be forced to miss the Games entirely.

For those who do gain successful entry into the closed-loop management system, the danger of a positive test remains, as it could mean an indefinite amount of time spent in quarantine, sidelined from training or competing.

In many ways, the remaining time before the 2022 Winter Olympics may be one of the most crucial and scary times for Olympic attendees. Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris recently admitted his fears of testing positive to Canadian television, saying, “I haven’t been so freaked out of getting it until now.”

A worker walks at Big Air Shougang, a competition venue for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, is seen through a fence at Shougang Park, the site of a former steel mill, in Beijing, China, December 28, 2021. Picture taken December 28, 2021.  REUTERS/Thomas Peter
A worker walks at Big Air Shougang, a competition venue for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, is seen through a fence at Shougang Park, the site of a former steel mill, in Beijing, China, December 28, 2021. Picture taken December 28, 2021. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Athletes and other stakeholders will also be at a higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 before entering the closed-loop management system for Beijing 2022. The journey to Beijing includes final qualification events, national selections, flights, and time spent outside the protection of the closed-loop management system.

One of the topics covered during the consultation calls was the countermeasures put in place for those within the closed-loop management system identified as close contacts to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

The IOC Medical and Scientific Director, Dr. Richard Budgett, emphasized athletes and other stakeholders in essential roles would be allowed to continue participating at the Olympic Games if they are defined as a close contact to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

He explained that a special regime is in place for those identified as close contacts. Countermeasures under that scenario include testing twice a day, and special arrangements for travel and dining.

Further clarification was also given in respect to athletes and stakeholders who test positive for the virus while inside the closed-loop management system. Those who test positive and are asymptomatic will be released from quarantine once they provide two consecutive negative PCR tests with at least 24 hours of separation between the two tests.

Workers in PPE stand next to the Olympic rings inside the closed loop area near the National Stadium, or the Bird's Nest, where the opening and closing ceremonies of Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics will be held, in Beijing, China December 30, 2021. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
Workers in PPE stand next to the Olympic rings inside the closed loop area near the National Stadium, or the Bird's Nest, where the opening and closing ceremonies of Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics will be held, in Beijing, China December 30, 2021. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

They will then be released back into the closed-loop management system under the same provisions as close contacts. Athletes in this situation would be allowed to train and compete again.

The IOC has stated that each situation will be reviewed by a Medical Expert Panel made up of top-level Chinese and international medical experts.

Christophe Dubi, IOC Olympic Games Executive Director, provided his update during the consultation calls from within the closed-loop management system. According to the IOC, Dubi emphasized the closed-loop management system had begun operations, and the arrivals procedures had worked very smoothly.

Dubi also classified the test events for Beijing 2022 as successful, while explaining the learnings from those test events had been incorporated into the planning for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for Beijing 2022, also assured stakeholders present during the consultation calls that preparations for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics were on track.

The clock continues to tick closer to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, which are slated to begin on February 4.

Guardar

Nuevo