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The IOC assures athletes that the Winter Olympics in Beijing will take place

During a video conference, the IOC assured the Swiss Olympic committee that the tournament will be held next month

The IOC assures athletes that the Winter Olympics in Beijing will take place
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The IOC promised officials around the world on Wednesday that the Winter Games will go on as planned, a day after Switzerland's team captain requested talks about possibly postponing the Beijing Olympics due to the coronavirus outbreak.

During a video conference session with teams, the IOC assured the Swiss Olympic committee that the tournament will be held next month.

According to the Swiss delegation, the International Olympic Committee also offered case-by-case reviews of athletes who recover after testing positive for Covid-19 before flying to China.

"The issue of a postponement is no longer relevant to all of us," Swiss team leader Ralph Stöckli said in the statement.

The International Olympic Committee hopes to prevent a second consecutive postponement. The Tokyo Games, which were supposed to take place in 2020, have been pushed back a year. That decision was reached four months before the opening ceremony was set to take place.

However, in a Swiss television appearance on Tuesday, Stöckli expressed reservations about the Beijing Olympics due to an increase in the number of athletes infected with Covid-19.

"We must really discuss the possibility of a postponement of the Games," Stöckli had told French-language state broadcaster RTS. "If we don't have the best athletes there, that's going to be very, very difficult."

After listening to the IOC on Wednesday, the Swiss Olympic team said it is "happy to now have some certainty on this subject."

Another Swiss concern that was alleviated on Wednesday was the length of time an athlete would have to wait after recovering from a Covid-19 infection before being able to enter China.

The IOC and Chinese organisers declared that individual instances will be evaluated by a panel of foreign specialists, and the matter will be handled in a "more flexible manner," according to the Swiss delegation.

"It's a positive signal," Stöckli said, otherwise given the high current case rates "we would have had to assume many athletes, no longer presenting any risk of infection, would have been deprived of their dream of participating in the Olympic Games."

Despite this, the team observed "very demanding" conditions in which to compete, qualify, and prepare, with the opening ceremony only 30 days away on Feb. 4.

Stöckli admitted on Wednesday that "there will probably be disappointments" for athletes who are unable to compete.

Beijing organisers and the International Olympic Committee are constructing a health-safety bubble for the Olympics, with more stringent testing and travel and mobility restrictions than were imposed during last year's Tokyo Games.

A 21-day quarantine for athletes, officials, and workers who have not been fully vaccinated, daily testing even for those who have been fully vaccinated, and keeping local staff within the bubble are all part of the guidelines.

International fans are being denied out once again, despite the fact that tickets to stadium events will be offered to Chinese citizens.

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