China aims for ‘Zero COVID’ Olympics

Athletes will need to be vaccinated — or face a long quarantine — take tests daily and wear masks when not competing or training. Clapping is OK to cheer on teammates, not chanting. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will be sent into isolation and unable to compete until cleared for discharge.

Welcome to the Beijing Olympics, where strict containment measures will aim to create a virus-proof “bubble” for thousands of international visitors at a time when omicron is fueling infections globally.

The prevention protocols will be similar to those at the Tokyo Games this summer, but much tighter. That won’t be a stretch in Beijing, with China having maintained a “Zero COVID” policy since early in the pandemic.

Still, China’s ability to stick to its zero-tolerance approach nationally is already being tested by the highly transmissible omicron variant, which is more contagious than earlier variants of the virus and better able to evade protection from vaccines.

With just weeks to go before the Feb. 4 start of the Games, more than 20 million people in six cities are under lockdown after recent outbreaks.

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