Beijing’s National Aquatics Center Is Expected To Hold 20 Per Cent Of Its Full Capacity During The Games Due To Concerns Over COVID-19

The venue was originally constructed to host aquatics competitions at the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games but has been converted for the winter event.

The “Water Cube” become known as the “Ice Cube” following its 2019 renovation.

“For the Winter Olympic curling events in the main competition area in the Ice Cube, attendance is expected to be no more than 1,000 people,” said Yang Qiyong, general manager of the venue, as reported by the Global Times.

The Ice Cube has held several rounds of test matches without any audience members, during which the arena operating team trialled COVID-19 prevention and control methods.

“In every test round we previously played in the Ice Cube, all in-venue personnel entered the closed-loop management 30 days ahead of the game,” Yang told the Global Times.

“The same model will be adopted for the Winter Olympics.

“All positions will be prepared with back-up personnel to ensure that there is always a back-up to take over if anyone has an epidemic-related problem.”

Yang claims that all staff received two doses of coronavirus vaccines in June and have all recently been given a booster shot.

The National Aquatics Center was reconstructed in line with the organisers’ aims of hosting a sustainable Olympics.

“The International Olympic Committee initially suggested that we fill in the main pool and turn it into an ice rink,” said Sun Weihua, head of the curling renovation project of the National Aquatics Center, as reported by the Global Times.

“But given that the pool has captured the memories of many athletes and spectators over the years, we wanted to keep it.”

The Ice Cube became the first arena in the world that can switch between water and ice.

Its pool and ice rink are interchangeable and can be swapped in a 19-day period.