Athletes criticize China's Covid measures in Beijing Games

Many athletes who arrived in China to participate in Beijing Winter Olympics are criticizing the country's stringent Covid-19 restrictions.
Representative Image (Photo Credit:Reuters)
Representative Image (Photo Credit:Reuters)
Some were placed in isolation for weeks after testing positive, while others complained about the bland food served in quarantine, reported CNN. 
One Finnish coach said that the measures were a violation of human rights. But for 1.4 billion people across China, the conditions inside the Olympic bubble present something of a microcosm of the country during the pandemic. 
China is one of the few places still adhering to a strict zero-Covid approach, whereby snap lockdowns, mass testing, contact tracing and tight border restrictions are deployed in a bid to stamp out all traces of the disease, reported CNN. 
New variants and increasingly frequent outbreaks have raised questions about how sustainable this strategy is.
Athletes coming from places like the United States, where the effectiveness of face masks is still debated, are now facing daily Covid tests inside the "closed-loop" that separates Olympic participants from the rest of the capital. 
Some of the measures are merely an inconvenience. For instance, athletes must wear plastic gloves when loading up their plates at the cafeteria, reported CNN. Meanwhile, more than 160 athletes or team officials have tested positive for Covid and been placed into isolation, with several forced to miss their competitions -- a devastating blow for those who have spent years training for this moment. 
"My heart and my mind can't take this anymore," tweeted Polish short track speed skater Natalia Maliszewska, who was placed into isolation and missed her first competitive event. 
Athletes have also pointed out that these restrictions can also take a much heavier toll on people's well-being and mental health, reported CNN.

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