Olympics-Beijing 2022 Games to have rigorous COVID-19 measures-IOC

Attendees wave flags with the emblem of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at a ceremony unveiling the slogan, in Beijing, China September 17, 2021. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

BERLIN (Reuters) - The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics will have tight COVID-19 countermeasures in place to ensure the safety of all participants, the International Olympic Committee said on Friday.

Just over a month after the closing ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Games, IOC President Thomas Bach said in an open letter that next year's Winter Games would also require strict measures amid the ongoing pandemic.

"While the pandemic is far from over, I would like to reassure you that together with our Chinese partners and friends, we are sparing no effort to make these Olympic Winter Games safe and secure for everyone," Bach said.

The Beijing Winter Olympics will be held from Feb. 4-20.

"As we did in Tokyo, we are putting in place rigorous COVID-19 countermeasures to ensure the health and safety of all Olympic participants in Beijing," the IOC president said, urging teams to get vaccinated and offering support in this process.

The vast majority of athletes and participants at the Tokyo Olympics were vaccinated.

Athletes were confined to the venues and the athletes' village while other stakeholders were also monitored in their movements, as polls had showed the majority of Japanese wanted the Games postponed or cancelled for fear of becoming a superspreader event.

The Tokyo Games had been delayed by a year and were eventually held in a state of emergency and without spectators or international visitors as Japan struggled with rising cases.

"The excellent cooperation that we are enjoying with our Chinese partners and friends, as well as the relevant Chinese health authorities, gives us all great confidence that we will again have safe and secure Olympic Games," Bach said.

Beijing will become the first city to host both Winter and Summer Olympics, after staging the 2008 Summer edition.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Toby Davis)

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