Beijing 2022 organisers have pushed the first editions of the playbooks dictating COVID-19 rules ©IOC

The first editions of the Beijing 2022 playbooks have been published, providing guidelines to athletes and officials to ensure next year’s Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games can be delivered safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the Beijing 2022 Organising Committee have published the playbooks with a little more than three months until the Games are due to open in the Chinese capital.

They claim the two playbooks, one for athletes and team officials, and one for all other stakeholders, provide comprehensive COVID-19 guidelines that will help participants prepare for travelling to and arriving in China.

As was previously announced, all those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will not need to quarantine for 21 days upon arrival in China and can instead enter a "closed-loop management system".

Those inside the closed-loop management system will be tested daily for COVID-19 and may only visit approved locations using approved means of transport.

Vaccines are described as a "key tool in enabling activities to be carried out safely" within the playbook, with the IOC vowing to continue to support National Olympic Committees and National Paralympic Committees to access doses.

Under the rules, it will be mandatory to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to departure for China in order to be allowed in the closed loop without quarantine.

The system will apply to all three Olympic zones in Beijing, Zhangjiakou and Yanqing and will be in place throughout the participants’ stay.

All competition and training venues as well as the Olympic and Paralympic Village and other permitted destinations fall within the closed loop.

Anyone attending the Games who has been fully vaccinated will be able to enter the closed loop without needing to go into quarantine ©IOC
Anyone attending the Games who has been fully vaccinated will be able to enter the closed loop without needing to go into quarantine ©IOC

Like at Tokyo 2020, COVID-19 liaison officers will need to be nominated by the delegations to ensure the rules are carried out.

Participants will be asked to download an application, called "My 2022", to input their daily health information for 14 days prior to their departure and during their time in China, with temperature checks conducted before entering all venues.

Avoiding physical contact, including hugs and handshakes, keeping a two-metre distance from athletes and at least one metre from others, and ensuring physical interactions are kept to a minimum are among other countermeasures to be implemented by Beijing 2022.

Participants will be asked to wear a masks at all times, except for when training and competing, eating, drinking and sleeping, regularly wash hands and support athletes by clapping instead of singing or chanting.

Two polymerase chain reaction - PCR - tests on two separate days within a minimum 24-hour interval within 96 hours of the departure will be required before leaving for China.

One of those tests must be carried out within 72 hours of the departure.

Should anyone test positive while in China, they will be taken by "dedicated transport either to an isolation facility or to a hospital to isolate and/or receive medical treatment".

"In addition to tests taken before departure and on arrival in China, you will be tested daily to minimise the risk of undetected positive cases that could transmit the virus," the playbook reads.

The Beijing 2022 COVID-19 countermeasures are similar to the ones used at Tokyo 2020 ©IOC
The Beijing 2022 COVID-19 countermeasures are similar to the ones used at Tokyo 2020 ©IOC

Athletes and team officials are "strongly recommended" to reside in the Olympic and Paralympic Village to minimise the risk of contracting COVID-19.

They have also been asked to minimise the length of their stay in China.

Anyone staying in China between the Olympics and Paralympics will need to continue to follow the "rules and behaviours outlined in the playbook".

Participants have been warned that they may face "disciplinary consequences" should they fail to adhere to the COVID-19 protocol, including refusing to take a test and "intentionally disrespecting mask wearing or physical distancing measures".

According to the playbook, rule-breakers could face "warnings", "temporary or permanent withdrawal of your accreditation", "temporary or permanent ineligibility or exclusion from the Games", "disqualification" or "financial sanctions".

"The playbooks provide a game plan to help Olympic and Paralympic Games participants, and consequently the local population, stay safe and healthy during Games-time," said Christophe Dubi, executive director of the IOC.

"They have been developed jointly by the IOC, the IPC and Beijing 2022, incorporating the very latest scientific advice and proven countermeasures implemented during the pandemic.

"This includes important learnings from international sports events held in recent months.

"We want everyone at the Games to be safe, that’s why we’re asking all participants to follow these guidelines.

"Keeping everyone healthy will ensure the focus remains on the very fundamentals of the Olympic and Paralympic Games – the athletes and the sport."

Rule-breakers could be stripped of their accreditation ©IOC
Rule-breakers could be stripped of their accreditation ©IOC

Han Zirong, vice-president and secretary general of Beijing 2022, added: "The playbooks demonstrate the consensus of all parties involved.

"In developing the playbooks, we made it a top priority to safeguard the safety and health of all Games participants including athletes, as well as the Chinese people, draw on the experiences from other international sports events, and the COVID-19 policy currently in effect in China.

"We will work with all stakeholders on the implementation of the Playbooks and together, deliver to the world a streamlined, safe and splendid Games."

The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics are due to run from February 4 to 20, with the Paralympics set to follow from March 4 to 13.

The next versions of the playbooks are set to be published in December.

The first playbook can be read in full here.