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China sees COVID-19 surge as Olympics approach

China sees COVID-19 surge as Olympics approach
A soldier stands guard Monday beyond the limits of the Closed Loop system, which authorities say is used to counter COVID-19 a the Big Air Shougang venue. Photo by Paul Hanna/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Two days before the start of the Beijing Winter Olympics, organizers are experiencing an increase in coronavirus cases linked to the sporting event, according to officials.

Organizers have identified 250 cases linked to the Winter Olympics, including 71 new cases this past weekend alone.

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Twenty-eight of those cases involved athletes or team officials. Twenty of the cases were confirmed by testing inside Beijing's "closed-loop system" that is supposed to limit those involved in the Olympics with the Chinese general public.

Beijing prepares for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games

Hannah Soar of the United States takes a training run in the Women's Freestyle Skiing Moguls. Photo by Bob Strong/UPI | License Photo

Beijing 2022 medical expert chair Brian McCloskey, said, though, that he expected the uptick at this time with the number of athletes arriving for the Opening Ceremony and start of the competition.

Beijing is averaging 36 new cases per day, doubling its three-day average from Jan. 25-27. The numbers are topping the infection numbers during the Summer Olympics in Tokyo last year.

China has sealed its borders beyond the Olympics as it tries to contain its latest uptick of the coronavirus. The country has loosened some restrictions. Those infected with the virus are also being required to quarantine for just seven days, instead of 14 days.

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Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam confirmed that she will skip the Olympics' Opening Ceremony to manage the growing coronavirus crisis there. Hong Kong said it identified 92 new COVID-19 cases Monday, many coming from public housing estates in its Kwai Tsing and Wong Tai Sin districts.

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