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COVID-19 test manipulation allegations dismissed by official

By CUI JIA and SUN XIAOCHEN | China Daily | Updated: 2022-01-26 07:55
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People take pictures during a light show for the upcoming Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at the Cairo Tower in Cairo, Egypt, on Monday. SUI XIANKAI/XINHUA

Organizers of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics won't use COVID-19 tests to manipulate the competitions as claimed by some, and the testing procedure is up to international standards, an official of the organizing committee's pandemic control office said on Tuesday.

In an interview with China Daily, Huang Chun, deputy director-general of the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee Pandemic Prevention and Control Office, said that all measures taken after people test positive for the virus are in line with the official Beijing 2022 Playbook.

"We will ensure there is no room for error when it comes to COVID-19 testing data and results," he said.

His remarks came after Michael Hoelz, Snowboarding Germany president, expressed doubts about fair play at the Games, which will open on Feb 4, fearing that COVID-19 tests will be exploited to exclude stronger athletes.

"It is relatively easy with (COVID-19) testing, someone can later say: 'We're sorry, it was a false positive'," Reuters quoted Hoelz as saying.

If Olympic-related personnel have doubts about their test results, their cases will be taken to the Beijing 2022 Medical Expert Panel for review, Huang said. Such a practice was also adopted at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, he added.

"Our testing laboratories are run by professional medical workers who received strict training prior to the Games. The results produced by such laboratories can well be trusted. It's unnecessary for people to have any doubts," Huang said.

He added that according to the Playbook, people who test positive for COVID-19 will be tested a second time to avoid the possibility of producing a false positive result. If the second test result is negative, the final result will then be negative.

On Monday, 12 Olympic-related personnel tested positive for the virus when they entered China at Beijing Capital International Airport, and another three cases were reported in the closed-loop system. One of the cases was among athletes and team officials, the organizing committee announced on Tuesday.

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