WHO is optimistic that the Beijing Winter Olympics can be held safely

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Beijing’s plans to ensure next month’s 2022 Winter Olympics are safe during the Covid-19 pandemic appear solid, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

WHO Emergency Director Michael Ryan said the United Nations health agency has worked with the International Olympic Committee to provide technical advice on safely staging the Games.

“The Chinese authorities have put in place very strict measures and have published a series of different manuals. We continue to review these manuals with the IOC, ”he told a press conference.

“I am convinced that given the information we have, the measures in place for the Games are very strict and very strict and we do not see, at this stage, any increased risk of disease transmission in this context. “

However, he said China had witnessed some large outbreaks of Covid-19 in recent weeks and Beijing would take a “very strong approach” to deal with them.

“We will continue to monitor the situation,” said Ryan.

“But certainly at this stage, given the arrangements that have been put in place for the athletes by the organizers, we do not perceive that there is any particular additional risk in hosting or organizing the Games.

“But of course we will keep any measures put in place under constant review.”

Olympic chiefs on Wednesday urged all Games participants to be “extremely vigilant” as Covid-19 infections reached unprecedented case levels in several countries.

>> Focus: Focus on China’s strict “zero Covid” policy

In a closed-door meeting with the National Olympic Committees, Beijing 2022 organizers, international federations and the IOC rejected any idea of ​​postponing the Games from February 4 to 20 due to the pandemic.

Beijing sealed its winter Olympic “bubble” on Tuesday, preparing Games venues, transportation and personnel for the world’s toughest mass sporting event during the global pandemic.

China, where the virus emerged in late 2019, has pursued a zero tolerance strategy on Covid-19 and is taking the same approach to limit the potential impact of the pandemic on the Winter Olympics and Paralympics. subsequent.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was asked if he would attend the Beijing Games, as he did with the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, which were postponed to last year in because of the Covid crisis.

However, a spokeswoman said the WHO was not discussing travel plans for its staff.

(AFP)

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