China to successfully hold Winter Olympics despite spread of new Covid strain: Beijing
Beijing/UNI/Sputnik/IBNS: China will successfully hold the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games on schedule, despite the worldwide spread of the new Omicron coronavirus strain, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian said Tuesday.
"Regarding the impact of the Omicron strain on the Winter Olympics, I think it will definitely bring some prevention and control challenges, but thanks to China's experience in preventing the spread of and combating COVID-19, I am fully confident that the Winter Olympic games will be successfully held in accordance with the schedule," Zhao said.
The games scheduled from Feb 4 - Feb 20 will be played under a "closed-loop" management system without the presence of any foreign spectators, as tickets are made available only to people residing in China's mainland.
Regarding the presence of the new variant of coronavirus, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said it originated from South Africa and is known as Omicron.
It has been confirmed in Canada, Europe, Israel and Hong Kong, WHO said.
The specialized agency of the UN has warned that Omicron contains the possibility of being more transmissible and could evade the protection offered from previous vaccines and infections.
"Given mutations that may confer immune escape potential and possibly transmissibility advantage, the likelihood of potential further spread of Omicron at the global level is high," the WHO said in its risk assessment Monday at a technical brief given to the body's 194 member states.