Olympic organizers address complaints about isolation hotels

The Associated Press
Gondolas glide past the Olympic Village at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022, in the Yanqing district of Beijing. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

BEIJING — Olympic organizers say they’re addressing complaints about isolation conditions for athletes who test positive for the coronavirus and are working to ensure they have clean rooms, better food and access to training equipment and the internet.

“These are exactly the kind of things we have to address. It’s a duty. It’s a responsibility. We have to make sure that the expectations are met,” said Christophe Dubi, the International Olympic Committee’s executive director for the games.

Dubi said Sunday that organizers will work to ensure “everything is perfect” for athletes waiting to be released. Han Zirong of the Beijing Organizing Committee also noted that athletes who test positive will now be able to order food from the Olympic Village and have it delivered to their isolation rooms.

More:Earplugs may help USA Luge's Summer Britcher at the Olympics

More:As Olympics loom, Summer Britcher talks about regaining love of luge and her broken finger

As part of China’s efforts to prevent the virus from spreading during the Games, everyone in the so-called Olympic bubble has to take daily PCR tests. Those who are confirmed to be positive go to an isolation facility until they’re cleared for discharge, either through tests showing they’re negative or a review by a panel of medical experts.

Dubi's comments came after complaints about the hotels where athletes must isolate. The German delegation called the situation “unreasonable” and said rooms should be bigger and cleaner after Eric Frenzel, a three-time gold medalist in Nordic combined, tested positive.

Russian biathlete Valeria Vasnetsova said she couldn’t stomach most of the food she was given and survived mainly on a few pieces of pasta. Soon after the Instagram post, a team representative posted a picture showing what he said was improved food, including salmon, cucumbers, sausages and yogurt.

So far, organizers say 363 people inside the Olympic bubble have tested positive for COVID-19. In addition to athletes, the figure includes media and team officials.