— Published 12 January 2022

A first virtual press conference

The train is speeding up in Beijing. With less than four weeks to go before the opening of the Winter Games (D – 23 this Wednesday), the organising committee held its first press conference in Olympic mode on Tuesday 11 January. It was held via streaming, by video conference, “in order to avoid close contacts and to allow a wider participation.” According to China’s Xinhua news agency, 129 journalists from 81 media outlets, representing 22 countries, participated. So far, nearly 1,500 journalists and broadcasters from around the world have already arrived in Beijing for the Winter Games. Xu Jicheng, director of media operations at the organising committee, said the trial period of the closed circuit system for the Olympic family began on 4 January. It will continue until 22 January. According to official sources, the system is already working “smoothly and efficiently”. There was no question of increasing the health measures set out in version 2 of the playbook, despite the discovery of cases of the Omicron variant in the port city of Tianjin, less than an hour’s train journey from the Chinese capital. According to the organising committee, an emergency plan is in place to deal with any breakdowns or incidents involving official vehicles. There are 30 emergency vehicles in Beijing and around 20 in Zhangjiakou. The aim is to avoid mixing accredited visitors and the local population at all costs.