As of the end of Monday, 272 people had tested positive among more than 10,000 who had arrived for the Games, Beijing organizers said. Of the positive cases, 67 were athletes or team officials. Those who test positive are taken to a designated hotel or hospital.
Zhao Weidong, a spokesperson for the organizing committee, said that COVID-19 prevention remains a priority.
“Everything is under control,” he said at a news conference. “Without a safe Games, there would be no Games.”
The Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is the most important annual holiday in China. Each year is named after one of the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac, with this year being the Year of the Tiger.
This year’s holiday has seen fewer people return to their hometowns for traditional family gatherings. China’s strict pandemic policies can lead to the swift lockdown of towns and cities, as well as suspension of travel wherever clusters of coronavirus cases are identified.
Liu Yuetong stayed in Beijing in case her hometown had a sudden outbreak and her return to work at an ad agency was delayed.
“This is the first time I celebrate the Spring Festival in Beijing alone,” she said after her prayers outside the Lama Temple. “I feel a bit lonely. But thanks to technology, I had video calls with my family almost every day.”