The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games Organizing Committee (BOCOG) and the Chinese authorities have adjusted the Games' COVID-19 rules, a move that means fewer athletes are likely to be tripped up by positive tests.
The organizing committee has decided to adjust the criteria for determining the nucleic acid test results, the IOC said in a statement. Under the new measures, only those with a PCR result that shows a Cycle Threshold (CT) of less than 35 will be considered COVID-19 positive, instead of the original 40. "The COVID-19 countermeasures for the Olympic Games Beijing 2022 have been refined by the Organising Committee and the Chinese authorities, in consultation with medical experts and the International Olympic Committee (IOC)," the IOC said.
The changes "have been developed in order to further adapt to the reality of the current environment and support the Games participants."
According to the IOC, the participants with a PCR result with a CT less than 35 will undergo isolation, but can be released if they are not displaying any COVID-19 symptoms and their PCR results are negative during the previous three consecutive days.
"Once rejoining the closed-loop, each person will be managed as a close contact. Should the participant's PCR results in the following days have a CT value of less than 35, they will not be returned to isolation and will continue to be managed as a close contact," the IOC release added.
Beijing Winter Olympics reported the first case of COVID-19 among national team members that entered China on Sunday.
The organizing committee said on Monday that the case was identified from PCR tests of 529 Olympic-related people at an airport in Beijing the previous day, NHK World reported.
The committee also revealed that three people who were not members of a team also tested positive at the airport.
The committee said that more than 38,000 tests were conducted on Sunday inside the so-called bubble separating Games-related personnel from the public. Two infections were confirmed from among those tests, the report added.
From January 4 through Sunday, 43 coronavirus cases were found at the airport and 35 inside the Olympics bubble. The organizing committee announced that a total of 72 confirmed positive tests for COVID-19 have been reported related to the games between January 4 and 22.
The number of cases reflects that the "Zero-COVID policy" of China has failed to contain the virus.