Beijing tests two million people shortly before the Olympics

Status: 01/23/2022 4:45 p.m

Shortly before the start of the Winter Olympics, China is trying to prevent the spread of corona cases with strict measures. Two million residents of Beijing have to be tested – after six infections in the district.

The approximately two million inhabitants of a district of Beijing have to be tested for a number of corona cases. In freezing temperatures, people in Fengtai District queued to obey the city government’s order.

Two weeks before the start of the Winter Olympics, the Chinese leadership wants to interrupt all transmission chains. According to official information, 46 infections had been found in Beijing in the past few weeks. Fengtai in the south of the capital is said to be the center of the outbreak, with six new infections recently reported in the district.

China continues to adhere to zero-Covid policy in view of Olympic Games

Daniel Satra, ARD Beijing, tagesschau24 4 p.m., January 23, 2022

“Strict and decisive measures”

“We must do everything we can to stop the spread as soon as possible by taking firm, strict and decisive measures,” Xu Hejian, spokesman for the Beijing municipal government, reiterated.

The Winter Games begin on February 4th. For the games, the authorities have declared an almost 200-kilometer-long zone to be a sealed-off Olympic bubble to protect against corona.

Daniel Satra, ARD Beijing, on the strict zero-Covid measures in China

tagesschau24 4 p.m., 23.1.2022

39 cases in Olympic participants

In the first wave of arrivals, 39 corona cases were found among Olympic participants. The Chinese organizers said that none of the 171 athletes and team officials were affected by the positive tests at the airport. The cases are therefore distributed among the 2,415 other accredited persons who arrived in Beijing between January 4th and 22nd.

Before arrival, everyone involved in the Olympics must provide evidence of two negative PCR tests. A three-week quarantine upon entry into Beijing can only be avoided with proof of vaccination. With a closed bubble and daily tests, the organizers want to avoid the spread of infections and prevent contacts with the Chinese population.

IOC doctor defends corona test rules

The International Olympic Committee defended the strict approach. It is the goal of the organizers “not to let omicron into the closed bubble,” said the IOC doctor Brian McCloskey, who heads the medical expert committee at the Olympics in China, according to a statement.

Above all, it is controversial that the hosts set different thresholds from when an Olympic participant is considered positive. It is more likely that athletes who tested negative before their departure could test positive after their arrival, McCloskey acknowledged.

Criticism and higher CT value

Several athletes and officials such as the German alpine boss Wolfgang Maier had recently criticized the specifications of the organizers. The focus is on the CT value, which theoretically indicates how contagious a corona infected person is. The lower the value, the more contagious a person is considered. In Germany, a value of over 30 is considered no longer infectious. In China, this value is fixed at 40.

This is to prevent the spread of the virus, McCloskey explained. The test system in Beijing is “effective and reliable”. The PCR tests would use the same type as anywhere in the world. The goal is “not zero cases, but zero spread,” emphasized the doctor. Because the omicron variant is more contagious, the positive cases have to be identified very quickly.

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