Dozens of athletes thrown into virus isolation at China’s zero-Covid Winter Olympics have laid bare their misery — describing ‘crying like crazy’ after being hauled out of bed at 3 a.m. before being fed miserable food in rooms too small for exercise, Daily Mail reported.
Beijing is attempting to hold a virus-free event in the midst of a pandemic, cutting off competitors and their teams in a bubble where tests must be taken every day, with anyone who tests positive dragged off to isolation.
But conditions in isolation are reportedly dire. Valeria Vasnetsova, a Russian biathlete, claims she was served the same inedible meal three times a day for five days in a row – and that it left her so emaciated that her ‘bones (were) sticking out’, the report said.
Head of German team Dirk Schimmelpfennig also blasted ‘unacceptable’ conditions for his athletes, saying isolation rooms are too small, not hygienic enough, the food is poor and PCR tests that athletes must take to free themselves are not being given, Daily Mail reported.
Natalia Maliszewska, a Polish speed skater, described being repeatedly moved into and out of quarantine over successive days due to conflicting Covid test results, an experience she described as a ‘trauma’ that left her ‘crying and crying’.
During one ‘night of horror’ she said officials dragged her out of bed at 3 a.m. in order to take her back to the athlete’s village after ruling she was Covid-free — only to later say they made a mistake before taking her back into solitary.
There are currently 387 people from the athletes’ bubble in Covid isolation in China, though this also includes members of their teams and press. The exact number of competitors in solitary is not clear, but is thought to be in the dozens.
Vincent Zhou, an American figure skater and medal hopeful, was among athletes to test positive on Monday and was taken to isolation. Austrian snowboarder Sabine Schoffmann also tested positive.
Jukka Jalonen, head of Finland’s ice hockey team, said on Sunday that China is violating the human rights of one of his star players by keeping him in isolation despite team doctors clearing him to play, Daily Mail reported.