Beijing Winter Olympics opening ceremony downsized amid surge in COVID-19 cases
China has downsized the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics because of the coronavirus pandemic.
China has downsized the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics because of the coronavirus pandemic. Chinese Film Director Zhang Yimou has announced that the opening ceremony will be much smaller than that of the 2008 Summer Games held in the capital, reported NHK World.
Zhang has been appointed chief director of the Games' opening and closing ceremonies, reprising his role in the 2008 Olympics. He said the opening ceremony on February 4 at the National Stadium, known as the Bird's Nest, will feature about 3,000 performers and last less than 100 minutes, reported NHK World.
The number of performers is one-fifth that of the 2008 ceremony and the length is less than half. With less than one month to go before the Olympics, community infections of the Omicron coronavirus variant have been confirmed in the city of Tianjin, adjacent to Beijing, and the inland province of Henan, reported NHK World.
Whereas the 2008 Summer Olympics was widely regarded as China's "coming out party" on the world stage (replete with the official theme song, "Beijing Welcomes You"), the 2022 Winter Games will be held within a tightly sealed Covid-safe "bubble" isolating participants and attendees from the wider Chinese population.
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