In 100 days, Beijing will become the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics, which CNN reports is "a major point of pride for China." But the marathon relay and musical performances that marked the 100-day countdown to Beijing's 2008 Summer Olympics were missing from Wednesday's "much more muted affair," per CNN, as China reported 50 new COVID-19 cases, its highest daily total in six weeks. The number is "tiny by global standards," per Reuters, but still a breach of Beijing's zero-tolerance policy, and enough to warrant travel restrictions in the capital and a lockdown in Lanzhou, a city of 4 million.
The policy will be put to the ultimate test with the arrival of thousands of visitors in February, just six months after the Tokyo Summer Olympics. No two Olympics have taken place so close together since the staggering of Summer and Winter Games in 1994, the CBC reports. According to the Olympics' COVID-19 playbooks, revealed Monday, unvaccinated athletes, team staff, and journalists will need to submit to a three-week "hard quarantine" before taking part. All participants will undergo daily PCR tests while living in a "closed loop," NPR reports, noting the restrictions will undergo revisions before the Olympics (Feb. 4-20) and Paralympics (March 4-13).
The pandemic isn't the only challenge: There are calls for nations and athletes to boycott the competition over China's approach to Tibet and Hong Kong and its treatment of Uighur Muslims. Activists unfurled a Tibetan flag and banner reading "No genocide games" during the torch-lighting ceremony in Athens, Greece, earlier this month, Reuters reports. But so far, no country has bowed out. To get US fans excited, the Guardian turns a spotlight on 15 standout Team USA athletes vying for a medal, which will feature clouds, snowflakes and celestial designs. (Read more 2022 Beijing Olympics stories.)