Winter Olympics

1st COVID Cases Detected Among Beijing Olympics Participants

An athlete tested positive Sunday at a Beijing airport, and two tested positive in the Olympic 'bubble'

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The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing will be here before we know it. Here’s everything to know about the Olympic events, COVID-19 protocols, an overlap with the Super Bowl and more.

The first positive case of COVID-19 has been detected in a Beijing Winter Olympics team member, the organizing committee said Monday, 11 days before the opening of the games.

The organizing committee did not identify the team member or their nationality but said the infection with the novel coronavirus was confirmed with a PCR test conducted Sunday at a Beijing airport.

Three stakeholders also tested positive, the committee said, on a day that saw 153 athletes and team officials and 376 stakeholders land at the airport.

Separately, two tested positive in the strict Olympic "bubble" in which athletes and workers associated with the games are prevented from interacting with locals and visiting places other than their venue or accommodation.

With community infections expanding in China, the government has been stepping up efforts to keep the highly contagious Omicron variant at bay in the weeks leading up to the opening of the Olympics on Feb. 4.

In Beijing, authorities have taken radical "zero COVID" steps, including compelling foreign visitors to be completely quarantined at a designated facility for at least three weeks.

Meanwhile, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach arrived in Beijing on Saturday, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Monday.

During his stay in China, Bach is expected to dine with Chinese female tennis star Peng Shuai, who claimed in November that she had been forced by a former vice premier into having sex during a certain period of their extramarital relationship.

The episode surrounding Peng is one of the issues that have overshadowed the Beijing Games, another being the "diplomatic boycott" of the Olympics staged by the United States and some other democratic countries such as Britain and Australia over China's human rights record.

The IOC said it held online talks with Peng twice late last year, but concerns have yet to be dispelled that she has been detained by Chinese authorities.

Copyright AP - Associated Press