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Beijing Olympic athletes to vaccinate or quarantine 21 days, new rules show

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Beijing Olympic athletes to vaccinate or quarantine 21 days, new rules show
China unveiled it logo for the 2022 Olympics with its official partner China Unicom in Beijing. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 25 (UPI) -- Beijing Olympic athletes will have to quarantine for 21 days unless they're vaccinated, according to a new COVID-19 countermeasures playbook.

The playbook for athletes and team officials was one of two published Monday, with another playbook published for all other stakeholders, such as press and marketing partners.

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The International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee and the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games published the new playbooks.

Athletes who are not fully vaccinated 14 days prior to departure to China will need to quarantine for 21 days upon arrival in Beijing, according to the athletes and team officials playbook. The same rules apply for other stakeholders, the other playbook shows.

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The athletes and team officials playbook notes exceptions "on a case-by-case basis, based on medical reasons."

Game participants and domestic workforce in regular contact with them will also only be allowed to move between permitted destinations to limit contact with "the general public or anyone outside of the closed loop," the playbooks state.

Under the "closed loop" system, they will also undergo daily COVID-19 monitoring and testing.

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"In developing the playbooks, we made it a top priority to safeguard the safety and health of all Games participants including athletes, as well as the Chinese people," Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee Vice President and Secretary General Han Zirong said in a statement.

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Organizers have also barred international spectators from the Winter Olympics similar to the Summer Olympics, which were postponed a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Still, the Beijing Olympic Games policies appear stricter than this summer's Tokyo Olympics playbooks, which also included daily testing once athletes arrived, and health monitoring 14 days prior to arrival, but only required three days of quarantine upon arrival in Japan.

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Team USA had an 85.5% vaccination rate in the summer games, but trailed other countries in its vaccination rate, The Wall Street Journal reported.

NPR noted that the policy for the winter games also does not mention religious beliefs or other conditions that are often allowed as exceptions to U.S. vaccine rules.

The Beijing Winter Olympics opening ceremony will take place on Feb. 4 and the games will run through Feb. 20. The Paralympic Winter Games will run from March 4 through March 13.

Little more than three months before the Games, officials said adults over 18 who previously received a two-dose Chinese-made vaccine had become eligible to receive a booster shot.

Also, recently, international protests have ignited against the Beijing Olympics, with Greek authorities arresting several activists protesting over China's alleged human rights abuses.

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Last month, the IOC suspended North Korea from participating in the Beijing Olympics since it skipped the Tokyo Olympics. North Korea announced it would skip the Tokyo Olympics in April "to protect players from the world public health crisis caused by COVID-19."

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