Story at a glance

  • Chinese officials said Tuesday the country is confident it will be able to hold the upcoming Winter Olympics safely despite potential challenges created by the omicron coronavirus variant.
  • The winter games are scheduled to kick off in Beijing Feb. 4 under a strict “closed loop” policy and without foreign spectators.
  • Unvaccinated athletes and staff heading to Beijing will be required to undergo a 21-day quarantine upon arrival.

Chinese officials said Tuesday the country is confident it will be able to hold the upcoming Winter Olympics safely despite potential challenges created by the omicron coronavirus variant. 

"I believe it will definitely pose some challenge to our efforts to prevent and control the virus, but as China has experience in preventing and controlling the coronavirus, I fully believe that China will be able to host the Winter Olympics as scheduled, smoothly and successfully,"  foreign minister Lijian Zhao told reporters, according to Reuters

At least 19 countries have reported confirmed cases of the omicron variant first discovered in South Africa last week, according to a CNN tally.  The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday listed the variant as a “Variant of Concern,” noting that “preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant.”

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The winter games are scheduled to kick off in Beijing Feb. 4 under a strict “closed loop” policy and without foreign spectators. Athletes and Olympic staff will additionally be subjected to daily testing despite vaccination status. 

Unvaccinated athletes and staff heading to Beijing will be required to undergo a 21-day quarantine upon arrival, the International Olympic Committee said in October. 

Team USA announced in September that all athletes in the U.S. delegation must be fully vaccinated to participate in Beijing. 


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Published on Nov 30, 2021