Coronavirus Outbreak Threatens Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics

Channels Television  
Updated January 25, 2020
A paramilitary police officer wearing a protective facemask to help stop the spread of a deadly SARS-like virus, which originated in the central city of Wuhan, stands guard at the exit of the Forbidden City in Beijing on January 25, 2020. NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP


There is currently “little risk” from a deadly new virus sweeping parts of China at the venue for the first official alpine skiing test event for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, organisers said Saturday.

The virus, which has killed dozens and infected nearly 1,300, first emerged in central Wuhan city, but has since spread to at least 30 regions and provinces in China.

But Sarah Lewis, secretary-general of the international ski federation (FIS), talking in the Austrian resort of Kitzbuehel, said the current status at the Chinese resort of Yanqing was “low risk”.

Yanqing, northwest of Beijing, will host alpine skiing, bobsleigh, luge and skeleton at the 2022 Games.

FIS, working with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), are to host a leg of the men’s World Cup circuit at the resort from February 12-16.

“We’re of course following Word Health Organisation instructions and (are) completely aligned with the IOC because the competitions, the FIS alpine ski World Cup in Yanqing, will be the first Beijing 2022 official test event,” Lewis said.

“So the IOC are very much involved, they have a full delegation there and their medical direction are liaising closely with the World Health Organisation.”

Yanqing, Lewis said, was a 13-hour drive from the area principally affected by the virus.

Any alterations in planning would be announced, Lewis added, “if there are any changes to the situation in a negative way”.

“There’s absolutely no intention to take any risks, and this is very much the position of the Chinese authorities and the IOC.”