Winter Games in China: Olympics in a protective bubble

Status: 12.01.2022 11:01 a.m.

Despite rigorous protective measures, the corona numbers rise three weeks before the Olympic Games in China. The games themselves will take place in isolation. Some rules aroused amazement.

By Benjamin Eyssel, ARD-Studio Beijing

Despite the rising coronavirus numbers, the Chinese organizers are sticking to the Olympic Games. The winter games should start in three weeks and take place isolated from the rest of the country.

Benjamin Eyssel
ARD-Studio Peking

Every effort will be made to prevent a major outbreak within the Olympic bubble, said Huang Chun from the local organization team at a virtual press conference. However, should there still be a major Covid outbreak at the Winter Games, this will certainly have an impact on the Games and their course. Therefore, options are kept open, Huang Chun said, without being specific.

Special rescue workers for athletes

The request that the Chinese should not help if they see a vehicle with Olympic participants that is involved in a traffic accident recently caused a stir. There are special rescue workers who are only responsible for the Olympic Games, it said to explain. The background to this is China’s strict zero-covid policy.

Several major cities in lockdown

Several major Chinese cities are in lockdown. Including Yuzhou with around one million and Anyang with five million inhabitants, both in the Henan region. For three weeks now, people in the 13 million metropolis of Xi’an have not been allowed to leave their homes and apartments.

Hardly any transport links available

In the north-east Chinese economic metropolis of Tianjin, too, numerous restrictions apply to the 14 million inhabitants. Almost all flight connections from Tianjin have been canceled, and there are hardly any buses and trains out of the city. In some parts of the city, people have to stay at home.

At least two locally transmitted Omikron cases were reported in the port city of Tianjin over the weekend. The authorities are now testing all of the city’s residents. The authorities have not disclosed how many of the most recent Covid cases in the People’s Republic are attributed to the highly contagious Omicron variant.

It is still unclear how well the Chinese vaccines protect against Omikron. Studies indicate significantly less protection than mRNA vaccines. Vaccines like those from BioNTech / Pfizer or Moderna are not approved in China.

Numbers are also increasing in Hong Kong

The number of cases is also increasing in Hong Kong. The authorities in the Chinese Special Administrative Region report a total of almost 50 local Omikron infections. Therefore, in addition to bars and fitness centers, kindergartens and primary schools in Hong Kong will also be closed from Friday.

Prime Minister Carrie Lam announced: “Kindergartens and schools in Hong Kong should remain closed until at least after the Chinese New Year holidays at the beginning of February. They can only be reopened if the pandemic is under control by then. Then the schools should also be vaccinated will.”

Three weeks before the Olympics: Corona numbers in China are increasing

Benjamin Eyssel, ARD Beijing, 12.1.2022 · 09:35

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