Winter Olympics in China: Entry by invitation only

Status: 01/18/2022 1:37 p.m

China is tightening the isolation of the Olympic Games again: there will be no ticket sales, only targeted invitations. Omikron has long been in the country – and soon one of the main travel times is approaching.

By Benjamin Eyssel, ARD Studio Beijing

The organizers have delayed the decision for a long time. Two and a half weeks before the opening of the Winter Games, it is now clear: Because of the Covid 19 pandemic, there will be no tickets for sale. However, certain groups of viewers will be invited. Exactly what that means was not disclosed.

Benjamin Eyssel
ARD-Studio Peking

Instead, the state and party leaders want to spread positive news. One of the most important aspects of the games is that they are particularly environmentally friendly. All 26 competition venues will be powered by electricity from renewable sources, said Chinese State and Party leadership spokesman Zhao Lijian. This could save 12.8 million tons of CO2 per year.

These statements cannot be verified. Experts abroad say the opposite is the case: the Winter Games in China are expressly not environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Complete lockdown

On February 4th, the Olympic Games begin with the opening ceremony in the National Stadium in Beijing, the so-called Bird’s Nest. The games should then take place completely isolated from the rest of the country, in a so-called bubble.

Anyone who wants to enter the country without a three-week quarantine must be fully vaccinated, there are daily PCR tests. This is to prevent athletes and the thousands of supervisors, journalists and trainers from bringing the corona virus in and spreading it throughout the country. The first of them have already landed.

Even if this woman’s advertising for the 2022 Winter Games is worth a photo: Chinese and international sports fans will only be able to watch the games themselves on TV – with a few exceptions.

Build: AP

Omicron cases despite lockdown

In the country of origin of the corona virus, a strict zero-Covid strategy has been in place for almost two years. The official corona numbers are still low. But the highly contagious omicron variant has long been in the country. Authorities have confirmed cases in several parts of the country, including individuals in the country’s two most important and largest cities, Shanghai and Beijing.

An omicron case in Beijing may have been brought in by a postal package from Canada. Pang Xinghuo from the health authority responsible for the capital region said at a press conference. International experts doubt this version. At least the message to the population is clear: the threat comes from outside.

What is different in Beijing and Shanghai

Unlike in many cities, the authorities in the 20 million metropolises of Shanghai and Beijing did not react with complete lockdowns, but isolated contact persons in a very targeted manner and tested thousands in the immediate vicinity.

Based on worldwide experience, it is unclear whether China will be able to get the omicron variant under control shortly before the start of the Olympic Games using the methods that have been successful up to now. Studies show that the vaccines used in China hardly protect against infection with the omicron variant.

In addition, the wave of travel for the Chinese New Year is beginning these days. Traditionally, hundreds of millions of people will travel across the country to their families in the coming weeks.

Winter Games in the Pandemic: How China is preparing for the Olympics

Benjamin Eyssel, ARD Beijing, 18.1.2022 ยท 11:23

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