The Challenge Of Bringing Athletes & Media To China During Covid

Following the experience of the first week of arrivals into Beijing and with more and more Games participants beginning to travel to the Chinese capital for the upcoming Olympic Winter Games, additional practical tips have been put together by organisers for delegations to further help limit the possibility of getting infected with COVID-19 and transmitting it to others in the lead-up to and during travel. The information below complements the Playbooks, which were published a few weeks ago:

For organisations:

  • Ensure that everyone has received and read the Playbook and follows the measures outlined.
  • Provide the list of practical tips below (entitled “For those travelling”) to your delegation.
  • Encourage your delegation to work from home, as much as possible, in the lead up to their travel, while keeping in mind that those with school ages children may wish to take additional precautions due to the spread that seems to be happening within this age group.
  • Provide those travelling with:
    • masks or access to masks (KN95, N95, FFP2, or equivalent standard of protection)
    • hand sanitiser and disinfectant wipes
  • Try and put in place ground transport to airports that ensures adequate physical distancing between Games participants and avoids interaction with non-Games participants.
  • If possible, ask your booking agent to establish a seating plan which minimises the risk of close contacts.
  • If there are connecting flights try and ensure that you maintain the same approximate seating configuration for all flights, limiting mixing and interaction within your delegation, other Games participants and non-Games participants.
  • Guarantee that your delegation know the name and contact information of their CLO.
  • During the pre-Games loop in particular, if possible, consider having members of your delegation self-isolate for three days if they are considered as close contact. This is something the IOC and IPC have decided to do.
  • You may wish to appoint a Team Leader that is assigned to each flight to assist their fellow travelers throughout the trip, reminding them of the various rules in the Playbook to be followed, along with the practical advice below. This is something which the IOC has recently put in place.
  • Give access to, or provide contact information of, mental health providers to your delegation.

For those travelling:

Prior to travel:

  • Be sure to read the Playbook thoroughly and follow the measures outlined.
  • Keep physical interactions with others to a minimum in the 14 days prior to travelling to China. In the final five days before your departure avoid all public and crowded places such as restaurants, etc.
  • Always wear a mask and ensure that you are in well ventilated spaces if you must attend meetings indoors.
  • Also, where possible, we recommend that you schedule your <72 hours test as close to possible to your departure, while still ensuring adequate time to obtain the result (refer to your approved testing lab’s turnaround time). This will help minimise the risk of a recent/new infection which could lead to a positive test upon arrival in China going undetected prior to your departure.
  • In addition to your two mandatory pre-departure PCR tests you may wish to arrange for a rapid test or do self-test on the day you travel. Also, we encourage you to continue to self-test on days when you are not having a PCR.
  • Even after having received two negative PCR test results prior to travel, absolutely do not let your guard down and avoid all public and crowded places as mentioned above.

 While travelling:

  • Have hand sanitizer with you at all times and use it regularly! You may also wish to bring disinfectant wipes
  • It is particularly important to wash or sanitize your hands:
    • before you put on and take off your face mask
    • after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose
    • before you eat or handle food
    • after coming into contact with areas such as bathrooms and surfaces touched by others, such as suitcases, door handles, handrails, elevator buttons and light switches
  • When going through personal screening at airports, place personal items such as keys, wallets and phones in your carry-on bags rather than the bins, this reduces the handling of such items during screening.
  • Also, if you are carrying food items they should be transported in a plastic bag and placed in the bin when going through screening. Separating food from carry-on bags lessens the likelihood that screeners will need to open the bags for inspection.
  • You may wish to eat alone an try avoid doing so in lounges or restaurants. If not possible, try avoid eating and drinking at the same time as those dining with or around you, in the lounges, restaurants and the airplane, putting on your mask whenever possible.
  • Travelling often means being in areas that are closed and confined. Whenever possible, during your trip, stay in open, well-ventilated settings.
  • While usually considered courteous to provide assistance, avoid touching the suitcases and personal items, such as phones, etc. of others .


  • If you feel unwell, but do not have COVID-19 symptoms, or your COVID-19 test is negative, still take precautions to avoid passing such symptoms onto others. The flu and common cold, which can happen at this time of the year, are spread from one person to another.
  • Seek the support of mental health professionals if you wish to discuss the various experiences and emotions you may be feeling in the lead up to, during and after the Games.