ZHANGJIAKOU (VG) Olympic doctor Aasne Hoksrud is working intensely to get three members of the Norwegian delegation out of isolation.
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On Saturday, it became known that three Norwegians had tested positive in China. VG is now informed that two of the people in the Norwegian support apparatus took the tests at the airport in Beijing on Friday morning. They were immediately transported to an area outside Beijing. A third assistant in the Norwegian Olympic squad then tested positive on a sample taken at his hotel the next day. All have in common that they have previously been covid-19 sick during the last six weeks.
– They have received a positive test. We have to deal with that. There’s a lot we do not know about corona. If you do not look at their cases, it is conceivable that some of them may have contracted a new infection. What we are now working on is to document that this is probably related to the fact that they have had a previous coronary infection, Hoksrud tells VG.
– We try to make this clear to the Chinese authorities. Then you have to follow them up closely if they escape from isolation, so that you see that it is not a new infection. For all three have taken tests in the border area, says Norway’s Olympic doctor.
The border area Hoksrud aims at applies to CT values. To get a negative coronal test, one is dependent on the CT value being over 35 in China, while in Norway the limit is 40. This means that there is a greater chance of getting a positive sample in China.
The Olympic doctor from Norway is now working closely with a medical panel and trying to get them to assess the Norwegian cases. It is not an easy task.
– We have challenges with the flow of communication with the authorities. It has not been fully up and running yet, but we expect it to be in place.
A total of 85 Norwegian athletes were on board the charter plane that left Oslo on Thursday night and landed in Beijing on Friday morning local time. VG was among the media that took part in the trip. In addition, gold hopes such as Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, Kjetil Jansrud and Tiril Eckhoff were on board. No practitioners were affected by the positive tests, but another seven people in the support apparatus are in quarantine after being defined as close contacts on the plane by the two men who gave positive tests at the airport.
– The medical panel will have a professional discussion on difficult cases. So we are optimistic. But for now, they are treated as positive, with all the consequences it entails. They are in isolation, but in good spirits. We have a fairly close dialogue with all three. The isolation hotel is adjacent to Zhangjiakou and Yanqing. Two of them are there. The third is in isolation at the hotel where he lives, says Hoksrud.
In order to escape isolation and be allowed to enter the Olympic bubble here in China, one must basically test negative two days in a row. If you test positive after 10 days, but do not have symptoms of illness, you can still get out of isolation, but then each case will be assessed by the authorities. In addition, the person in question will have to comply with guidelines that dictate quarantine.
The situation that has arisen creates more headaches for the three cross-country skiers, Heidi Weng, Anne Kjersti Kalvå and Simen Hegstad Krüger, who are all ill in Italy, but at the same time hope to be able to participate in the Olympics. The jumpers Daniel André Tande and Johann André Forfang are also waiting to test negative after undergoing infection.
Now everyone can end up in isolation if they get to China, as the authorities here operate with stricter CT values than in Norway.
– The advantage is that we at least get to go up the road now before the athletes come. It will be exciting to see how the panel assesses the issues we have now. Then we are prepared to take the consequences of those who have recently had it, can get a positive test in China with all that entails. So we will make sure to have a minimum of close contacts on those it may apply to, says Hoksrud.
She is now awaiting a response from the medical panel at the Olympics.
– We do not yet know what the road will be like. The panel assesses case by case on an ongoing basis, and they have enough cases from many other nations as well. We will see what happens, says Hoksrud.
She is praised by cross-country manager Espen Bjervig. He himself is in a chaotic and confusing situation after the three mentioned athletes and coach Arild Monsen have all tested positive during the last week.
– There is always stress with positive tests. Aasne does a great job of addressing this here. I think Aasne is very right that it is good that there is a race in the process here now before the masses of athletes come from Europe in the next three days.
Bjervig also confirms that the other men’s runners who were in Italy when the cross-country camp experienced an outbreak of infection last week, will be on board the charter plane that will take other members of Norway’s Olympic squad on Monday night.
– Everyone flies with the Olympic top charter tomorrow, 31 January, like the rest of the Norwegian squad, says Bjervig.