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SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 44-46

Safe organization of the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022 amid the ongoing coronavirus disease-2019 pandemic


1 Medical Education Unit Coordinator and Member of the Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth– Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission07-Feb-2022
Date of Acceptance20-Feb-2022
Date of Web Publication4-Apr-2022

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District - 603108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/sjsm.sjsm_5_22

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  Abstract 


The ongoing coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted the functioning of each and every sector and the same applies to the sports sector. Olympics are a major sporting event that involves the gathering of thousands of athletes, supporting staff, organizing team members, spectators, and media personnel. It won't be wrong to state that such events have all the potential to initiate multiple new chains of transmission of infection jeopardizing the safety of all the people involved. The Beijing Winter Olympics have been scheduled from February 4, 2022, but the pandemic has influenced the qualifying process of some of the events, forced the organizers to test athletes for COVID-19 on a daily basis to detect any potential outbreak at the earliest, etc., It has been decided that the whole event will be organized in a closed-loop atmosphere, wherein three gated bubble areas have been earmarked. To conclude, the organization of a major event like the Olympic Games during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is a huge responsibility. In order to ensure smooth conduct and to minimize the incidence of cases or to interrupt the chain of transmission, we all have to rise to the occasion and extend our maximum support to the organizers.

Keywords: Bubble, coronavirus disease-2019 pandemic, Olympics, World Health Organization


How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Safe organization of the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022 amid the ongoing coronavirus disease-2019 pandemic. Saudi J Sports Med 2022;22:44-6

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Safe organization of the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022 amid the ongoing coronavirus disease-2019 pandemic. Saudi J Sports Med [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Nov 30];22:44-6. Available from: https://www.sjosm.org/text.asp?2022/22/1/44/342530




  Introduction Top


The ongoing coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted the functioning of each and every sector and the same applies to the sports sector.[1],[2] The available global estimates revealed that as of February 13, 2022, a cumulative total of 408 million cases and more than 5.8 million deaths have been associated with disease-related complications.[1] Owing to the pace with which the infection has spread, the ability of the infection to overwhelm even the best health-care systems in developed nations, and the constant emergence of variants of the novel virus infection, the pandemic is far from being yet over. It is time for all of us to stand together and work in collaboration to win the battle against this deadly pandemic.[2]

Coronavirus disease-2019 and Olympic events

Olympics are a major sporting event that involves the gathering of thousands of athletes, supporting staff, organizing team members, spectators, and media personnel.[2] Acknowledging the fact that the infection is transmitted by close contact and through airborne droplets, the presence of thousands of people in a single location becomes an important factor amid the ongoing pandemic.[2],[3] It won't be wrong to state that such events have all the potential to initiate multiple new chains of transmission of infection jeopardizing the safety of all the people involved, including the definitive risk toward cancellation or postponement of the event itself. The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics was the first one to ever happen in the history of the Olympics resulting because of a medical reason.[2],[3],[4]

Coronavirus disease-2019 and Beijing Winter Olympics

The Beijing Winter Olympics have been scheduled from February 4, 2022, in the Yanqing and Chongli Districts, which includes the participation of athletes from various nations in the multisport event.[5] As the COVID-19 pandemic is still not over, it is very much expected that it will have an impact on the successful organization of the event.[5],[6] In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the qualifying process in some of the events, and forced the organizers to test athletes for COVID19 on a daily basis to detect any potential outbreak at the earliest.[3],[5],[7] In addition, organizers have introduced the Olympic bubble, and compelled the organizers to enforce a strict lockdown due to the detection of Omicron variant in Beijing.[3],[5],[6],[7]

In fact, it has been decided that most of the events will be conducted without any spectators, and only a limited number of them will be permitted to attend the event.[8] These invited people will have to strictly adhere to the standard infection prevention and control measures. Furthermore, some of the nations have already boycotted the event or withdrawn players amid fear of the changing COVID-19 situation in the world upon emergence of the Omicron variant.[8] In addition, it has been made compulsory that all stakeholders present at games should use the My2022 mobile app as a part of biosecurity. The app will also inform the concerned about the developments in the ongoing games and will keep them updated.[6],[8]

Prevention and control measures

The World Health Organization and the International Olympic Committee have joined their hands together to ensure the safe conduct of the Beijing Olympics and accordingly many prevention and control measures have been implemented for the safety of everyone.[8] It has been decided that the whole event will be organized in a closed-loop atmosphere, wherein three gated bubble areas have been earmarked. Each bubble is present around a stadium and is connected to hotels, gymnasiums, and other facilities required, with people traveling from one place to another via trains. Every person in the bubble has to wear a face mask in all locations except their designated rooms or while eating. As already stated, every person will be tested for the infection on a daily basis and the records will be maintained in the mobile app.[6],[8]

The people who are diagnosed with the infection are promptly isolated and are eligible to again enter the bubble upon testing negative. In addition, people have been instructed to maintain social distancing and a team has been created to supervise constant surveillance.[8] Similarly, a team of cleaners has also been employed to constantly be present and disinfect the used objects. Further, to reduce human-to-human contact, robots have also been employed in the frequently visited places and to spread disinfectants. All these steps have been taken with an aim to not identify zero cases but to ensure that the possibility of the spread of infection is completely eliminated.[8],[9],[10]


  Conclusion Top


To conclude, the organization of a major event like the Olympic Games during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is a huge responsibility. In order to ensure smooth conduct and to minimize the incidence of cases or to interrupt the chain of transmission, we all have to rise to the occasion and extend our maximum support to the organizers.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Weekly Operational Update on COVID-19 – 15 February, 2022; 2022. Available from: https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/weekly-operational-update-on-covid-19---15-february-2022. [Last accessed on 2022 Feb 18].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Dhillon MS. Olympics in the time of a pandemic. Indian J Orthop 2020;54:231-2.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Sparrow AK, Brosseau LM, Harrison RJ, Osterholm MT. Protecting olympic participants from covid-19 – The urgent need for a risk-management approach. N Engl J Med 2021;385:e2.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Zhu W, Feng J, Li C, Wang H, Zhong Y, Zhou L, et al. COVID-19 risk assessment for the Tokyo Olympic Games. Front Public Health 2021;9:730611.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Vaishya R. COVID-19 pandemic and the Olympic Games. J Clin Orthop Trauma 2020;11:S281-2.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
World Health Organization. IOC and WHO Reaffirm Collaboration to Promote Vaccine Equity and Healthy Lifestyles; 2022. Available from: https://www.who.int/news/item/06-02-2022-ioc-and-who-reaffirm-collaboration-to-promote-vaccine-equity-and-healthy-lifestyles. [Last accessed on 2022 Feb 07].  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Pigozzi F, Wolfarth B, Cintron Rodriguez A, Steinacker JM, Badtieva V, Bilzon JL, et al. Protecting olympic participants from COVID-19: The trialled and tested process. Br J Sports Med 2021;55:1322-3.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
BBC News. Beijing 2022: Life Inside the Winter Olympics Bubble; 2022. Available from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-60225463. [Last accessed on 2022 Feb 07].  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Shah AB, Nabhan D, Chapman R, Chiampas G, Drezner J, Olin JT, et al. Resumption of sport at the United States olympic and paralympic training facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sports Health 2021;13:359-63.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Tokuda Y, Kuniya T. Prediction of COVID-19 cases during Tokyo's Olympic and Paralympic Games. J Gen Fam Med 2021;22:171-2.  Back to cited text no. 10
    




 

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