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Winter Olympics 2022 Amid Omicron – Does China Really Need One?

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Winter Olympics

There is a lot to cover under the China-hosted Winter Olympics 2022 topic; from political reservations to health concerns amid the prevailing Covid-19 variant Omicron. Besides, does the world with economic burdens and health priorities really need this event right now, especially when the Summer Olympics in Tokyo have just been held less than 6 months ago?

Which sports are planned to be played?

  • Snowboarding
  • Speed skating
  • Alpine skiing
  • Figure skating
  • Short track speed skating
  • Ski jumping 
  • Curling
  • Freestyle skiing
  • Bobsleigh
  • Luge
  • Ice hockey
  • Biathlon 
  • Skeleton 
  • Nordic combined
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Inline speed skating

What are the concerns?

The Winter Olympics 2022 are scheduled to be starting from 4th February till 20th February in Beijing. A lot is being discussed about the event and the need for it in the current times of the pandemic. Apart from this logical and valid concern of the healthcare professionals and experts, another note-worthy concern is about the reaction of the political leaders and their will (or rather lack of will) to participate and send their athletes to China. The politically rival countries like the USA, UK, Taiwan, Japan, and now North Korea have refused to participate in the event. The reasons for refusal to attend the event by these countries seem more political than health concerns. 

But China seems to continue the tradition of the Winter Olympics in its country no matter who joins or attends. Here are a few questions that would need to be answered though; 

How will China deal with and manage the fast-spreading Omicron virus concerns?

What about the boycotts?

Will the spectators be allowed to physically participate?

Let’s try to answer these questions looming over this upcoming event…

To deal with the pandemic and the safety measures to adhere to the SOPs, China has ensured the entrance of only the vaccinated athletes and audience. They will also be required to get the booster shots before entering the country. Besides, throughout the event, everyone will be strictly required to wear masks and use sanitizing agents, even during some sports. 

Although USA and UK have expressed concerns over these measures and the Omicron variant seems to be spreading at a faster rate than the previous variants of Covid-19. Apart from political and diplomatic reservations, these are the apparent concerns that the Western and European countries have shown.

Secondly, the political issues on the current international stage are a thing to ponder over. They are partly responsible for delaying or refusing to participate in the China-hosted event. Particularly, the USA, UK, Japan, North Korea, Taiwan, and other countries are not willing to engage in this event. This is rather an indication towards a much serious strategic and political matter prevailing in the world right now, under the pretense of pandemic-related reservations. However, some have also raised a voice over the human rights violation cases in China’s Xinjiang province against the Uighurs, making it a reason for the reluctance to participate.

But China doesn’t seem to be much bothered by the lack of participation of the athletes from these countries. It resolves to go on with the event as planned.

Similarly, there is yet another confusion about whether the live spectators will be allowed to the country or not. Is it a virtual event? The details about the pandemic safety measures have been released but specific details about the spectators are quite unclear yet.

Although there are some major concerns regarding the Winter Olympics 2022 in Beijing, China is hopeful and enthusiastic about the event. It is clear about the event’s commencement on the declared date and does not seem to delay or change the date due to anyone’s concerns and reservations. China thus seems to be continuing the tradition of the Winter Olympics and showcasing itself as a strong and modern country.

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