The Beijing Winter Olympics authorities have eased testing criteria for Covid-19 as more and more Olympic-related cases are discovered.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) revealed the adjustments on Monday, Jan. 24, which included lowering the COVID-19 PCR test positive threshold. They also shortened the length of time from 14 to seven days for a person considered to be in close contact.
According to Reuters, the IOC said that the adjustments “have been developed in order to further adapt to the reality of the current environment and support the Games participants.”
Only those with a Cycle Threshold (CT) of less than 35 will be considered positive due to the modifications. The Games’ medical officer, Brian McCloskey, said on Sunday, Jan. 23, that CT of 40 was earlier the threshold for labeling people positive.
The sensitivity threshold for polymerase chain reaction tests, known as the CT value, or how many times a testing sample must be amplified to identify the virus, was lowered by the rule change on Monday.
Since Jan. 4, 78 cases involving Olympic participants, including “stakeholders” such as marketing and other support employees, have been confirmed.
The Straits Times reported that the first infection involving an athlete or team official was identified at Beijing airport on Sunday, Jan. 23.
During the meeting of the IOC on Sunday, Jan. 23, participants questioned the changing standards of Covid-19 testing, such as the initial threshold for testing positive, the ambiguity around the rules, and restrictions that apply to people who have lately recovered from the disease, and on close contact.
Athletes visiting China must follow strict virus guidelines, which include wearing N95 masks and testing for viruses daily. A closed system will monitor everyone involved to keep participants away from the general public. They are not free to visit competition venues and lodging.
Those outside China must pass at least four COVID tests, two before departure and two upon arrival.