COVID-19, marathon flight make traveling to Winter Olympics a test in endurance for KSL crew
BEIJING – The entire sporting world is focused on Beijing, and the 2022 Winter Olympics have finally arrived. Some competitions started Thursday and the opening ceremony was set for Friday.
COVID-19 has changed everything, and it’s something China is taking extremely seriously.
Chinese authorities limited news crews to only their live shot locations, hotels, newsrooms and competition venues.
There are no restaurants, no tourist sites, no shopping areas and no going out into public.
The KSL crew spent two days in Los Angeles making sure all the required paperwork was good to go and taking two COVID-19 tests to get into China. Both tests were negative.
From the airport, it was a 13.5-hour flight to Seoul, South Korea, where the flight crews changed out and the plane fueled up for another 90-minute flight to China.
The KSL crew arrived in Beijing around midnight, but adrenaline kept them going.
Alex Cabrero said after he landed the welcome signs were nice and the experienced Olympic reporter said it looked like an Olympics arrival — but right away, it felt different.
The huge airport was empty, as most are that early in the morning. But many areas were closed off, and they saw workers in full hazmat suits. COVID-19 restrictions were visibly tight.
We’re trying to get into the figure skating venue to see @nathanwchen perform in the team event. Security since yesterday has increased big time. They’re checking everything. Maybe because Opening Ceremony is today? @KSL5TV / @kslsports pic.twitter.com/yfqHs1SOz8
— Alex Cabrero (@KSL_AlexCabrero) February 4, 2022
It took about an hour to gather equipment and get through different check stations before buses took them to their hotel.
“We can’t leave our hotel until we get the clearance that our latest test here was negative,” Cabrero said. “Our COVID test negative.”
At the hotel, a robot was disinfecting the air.
After getting their negative COVID-19 clearance, they still had to wait another day for contact tracing concerns before they were allowed out.
Nearly 22 million people live in Beijing but the streets remain empty. Security is everywhere, but the venues are ready to go.
There is no doubt the 2022 Olympics are going to happen.
China will make sure of it.
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