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Twice-a-day COVID testing inside Beijing bubble highlights Winter Olympic protocols

Asa Miller's quest for Winter Olympic glory will be done inside arguably the most stringent Olympic health protocols ever. From his Instagram account
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—For the first time ever, a certain Olympiad will be taking place inside a bubble due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Winter Olympics will be conducted next month in Beijing under very strict health and safety protocols.

According to Philippine Olympic Committee president Bambol Tolentino, just getting cleared to enter the bubble is already stringent enough.

"As we come from the outside, we will be having two RT-PCR tests before leaving, 96 hours before and 72 hours before. That's what I've learned. Then when you arrive, [there will be] another RT-PCR test," Tolentino revealed on Wednesday when he guested in the Kamuning Bakery Cafe Pandesal Forum.

He also bared that those who would test positive for COVID-19 will be isolated in different areas depending on whether they have symptoms or not.

Asymptomatic patients will be billeted in a dedicated hotel, while the symptomatic ones will be heading to a hospital for treatment.

"After 3-4 days, you will be out if you're negative," Tolentino revealed how COVID-19 patients would only be cleared.

He also said, "We are going to have twice-a-day COVID tests everyday," which is stricter than last year's Summer Olympics in Tokyo, where the delegation only got to be tested once per day.

Tolentino even said that local citizens in Beijing are not even allowed to help if the official transportation of the athletes needs to be fixed on the road.

Bones Floro, who has been named chef de mission for Asa Miller's bid to give the country an Olympic medal in back-to-back years, somehow summarized everything in one statement.

"Once we enter, we cannot leave," Floro, the grandson of former Crispa Redmanizers owner Danny, said in jest.

Turning serious, the National Golf Association of the Philippines secretary general added, "We have to protect ourselves and the Chinese people. They're gracious enough to host it, and we are all guests in their country, so we have to do our part."

The officials then said that Miller, who will compete in two alpine skiing events, will arrive in the Chinese capital on Jan. 30 and will quickly enter the designated bubble for the sport in the city's Yanqing District once cleared for action.

Miller will first compete in the men's giant slalom event on Feb. 13 and will return on Feb. 16 for the men's slalom.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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