BEIJING, February 1. /TASS/. The Chinese authorities intend to organize the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing in line with the earlier approved plans despite the novel coronavirus pandemic, Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said on Monday.
"I would like to stress that China paid attention in the first place to the containment of the pandemic and the restoration of economy, having created favorable conditions for the organization of the Winter Olympics," Wang Wenbin addressed a regular briefing. "We are confident that the Games will be outstanding."
The diplomat reiterated that Beijing continues applying tough measures in the fight against the novel coronavirus. "We are applying active efforts to see that all planned sports events will take place," he said.
According to him, China’s preparations for the Games "have received an approval and substantial support on behalf of the world community, including of the International Olympic Committee [IOC]."
On January 25, Chinese leader Xi Jinping held a telephone conversation with IOC President Thomas Bach and discussed the progress of China’s preparations for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing.
According to the IOC statement, issued after the talks between Xi Jinping and Thomas Bach, the two leaders discussed "close cooperation between the IOC and Chinese authorities with regard to health matters and the measures already being taken to ensure safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games 2022."
During the 128th IOC session in Kuala Lumpur on July 31, 2015, Beijing was elected the host city for the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games making the Chinese capital the first city ever to host both Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games (in 2008) as well as Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games (in 2022).
Beijing won the right to host the 2022 Olympics and Paralympics in a tight race over Kazakhstan’s Almaty in 2015, eventually securing 44 votes against 40 in support of the largest Kazakh city.
In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus - named COVID-19 by the WHO - have been reported in every corner of the globe. On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.
As of today, China is ranked 83rd in the world in terms of reported COVID-19 cases, which currently stand at 89,564. More than 4,630 people died of the novel coronavirus infection, while over 83,310 recovered from the illness.