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Stephen Leeder:Efforts will be made to prevent and control the epidemic

Stephen Leeder, Emeritus Professor at the University of Sydney

In this issue, the Center invited Professor Stephen Leeder for an exclusive interview on the prevention and control of COVID-19 during the Beijing Winter Olympics. Professor Stephen Leeder is currently emeritus Professor at the University of Sydney's School of Public Health. His research interests are in the areas of public health policy, difficult diseases, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. His recent research includes Hello! One Year after COVID-19, How Are We doing? , Fast reading Protocol: Zinc for the Prevention or Treatment of Novel Coronavirus and Other Coronavirus-associated respiratory infections.

As the Beijing Winter Olympic Games are approaching, a large number of international athletes entering China have brought great pressure to epidemic prevention and control. How to ensure the smooth operation of the Winter Olympic Games during the epidemic? How to manage and settle foreign athletes? Should Beijing strengthen epidemic prevention and control measures during the Winter Olympics?

In response to these questions, the Center interviewed Professor Stephen Leeder, hoping to know his views on epidemic prevention and control during the Beijing Winter Olympics.

Efforts will be made to prevent and control the epidemic during the Beijing Winter Olympics

1.With the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games is approaching, a large number of foreign athletes and their accompanying teams will arrive in Beijing, which will increase population mobility to a certain extent. In this case, how do you think the 2022 Winter Olympic Games will be affected?

It is now less than 100 days until the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games. Thousands of international athletes and their support teams will participate. The Games will run Feb. 4 to 20. I understand that all participants will be subject to daily Covid tests and no international spectators will be permitted. At the 2021 Tokyo Summer Games, 10,000 masked local spectators were permitted but with restrictions on cheering because of the risk of spreading coronavirus.

Despite dire predictions that the absence of international spectators would seriously impar the Tokyo games, they proceeded smoothly and were a spectacular media and athletic success. I can imagine the Beijing Games following similarly and that rigorous planning is considering the various threats and public health tactics to deal with Covid outbreaks associated with crowd mixing and transmission of the.

2. What anthropic factors do you think will directly or indirectly affect public health safety in this winter Olympic Games?

The expansion of the blue skies initiative ‘aims to cut the amount of fine particulate matter in the air in parts of north China close to where the Winter Olympics will be held’. That should cut the number of smog-heavy days. Control measures will be directed at coal, steel and other heavy industries with enhanced rail reducing road transport. These measures, given the experience with pollution control during the Olympics of 2018, will promote public health and improve the environment, one of the many determinants of Covid incidence and prevalence. There are similar reasons to limit tobacco smoking anywhere associated with the Games.

Spectators and service staff should be expected to be fully vaccinated, to wear face masks and limit exposure to crowds for their own and others’ safety. Screening with PCR tests and possibly rapid antigen testing should be readily available and offered to anyone who feels ill or had contact with a known case of Covid. Public announcements via all mainstream and social media should be empowered and resourced to make these facilities known to all Olympic participants, those servicing the venues and all spectators.

Interviewer: Zhang Jiabao

Interview date: October 30, 2021



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