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Sierra Leone
Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Winter Olympics: What it’s like to fly into Beijing’s Covid ‘bubble’

The journey inside the bubble starts with a copy of the “Playbook,” an 83-page rule book described by Olympic officials as a “way of life.”

The guide instructs participants to upload their daily temperature readings into an app 14 days before the Games and to isolate during that time to avoid infection. As Omicron cases are surging in Tokyo, where I live, I didn’t take any chances.

By the time I departed for Beijing, I was fully vaccinated, had tested negative for Covid twice, and had stocked my suitcase with face masks and snacks to eat if I failed a test and was forced to isolate alone for the entire Winter Games.

Maintaining social distance was easy on my almost empty ANA Airlines “special flight” from Tokyo, chartered to transport people to the Games.

As we approached Beijing, smog outside the window tinted the view a dusty brown.

When we landed, workers in hazmat suits were…

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