FirstFT: Olympic athletes complain about Covid quarantine conditions

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The International Olympic Committee admitted that conditions for athletes forced to isolate owing to testing positive for coronavirus had not met expectations, after German team officials complained of limited access to food and internet in quarantine.

Christophe Dubi, executive director of the Olympic Games, said most concerns over isolation had been addressed but admitted that improvements were needed after German officials called conditions “unacceptable”.

“It should not happen, and we want to make sure it does not,” Dubi told reporters yesterday, adding that organizers “can not be complacent” as they try to conduct the Games in line with Beijing’s zero-covid policy.

Dirk Schimmelpfennig, head of mission of the German Olympic team, said he was working with Chinese and IOC officials to get three athletes in isolation facilities cleaner rooms, training equipment and regular delivery of food and PCR tests.

More from the Beijing Games:

  • The Beijing Winter Olympics opened with a subdued ceremony that exemplified the closed nature of the games and the country’s attempts to defeat coronavirus.

  • NBC paid billions for exclusive US rights to the Games, but the American television network faces declining audience interest.

Have you been watching the Olympics? Tell me what you think of the Games so far at Thanks for reading FirstFT Asia – Emily

1. EU draws up energy contingencies amid tension in Ukraine Brussels is examining how to shield consumers from a potential energy crisis as part of plans to protect Europe’s households, businesses and borders from the fallout from a Russian military escalation in Ukraine.

  • More on Russia-Ukraine conflict: French president Emmanuel Macron has signaled he will recognize Russian security concerns without abandoning support for Ukraine’s sovereignty when he meets Vladimir Putin in Moscow today.

2. India declares 2 days of mourning after Bollywood star’s death Lata Mangeshkar, one of India’s most revered cultural figures, died on Sunday at the age of 92. Mangeshkar, who was admitted to hospital last month with Covid-19 and later suffered from multiple organ failure, will be given a state funeral.

Lata Mangeshkar

Lata Mangeshkar dominated Bollywood music, singing tens of thousands of songs in a career that mirrored the history of independent India © JAGADEESH NV / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock

3. China companies try to list in US following clampdown A handful of companies are seeking to become the first China-headquartered businesses to go public in the US since July, in a test of regulators’ willingness to accept new listings after clampdowns on both sides of the Pacific.

4. Outrage over Indian arrest of prominent Kashmiri journalist Indian authorities have provoked a backlash by arresting the editor of a leading Kashmir-based news site, a decision that has alarmed civil society advocates who say Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is throttling press freedom.

5. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp hit by cyber attack Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, owner of the Wall Street Journal, is investigating a cyber attack that it suspects was linked to China and accessed journalists’ emails and documents.

Coronavirus digest

Omicron chart

The day ahead

Indonesia GDP Economists predict that today’s fourth-quarter GDP figures will show that Southeast Asia’s largest economy grew 4.9 per cent in the fourth quarter, according to a Reuters poll. (Reuters)

Asia PMI figures IHS Markit purchasing managers’ index data will be released for the region.

Anniversary of the Maastricht treaty Today marks 30 years of the treaty, which established the EU and laid the foundations for monetary union. It also fueled concerns among those opposed to further political union, arguably sowing the seeds of Brexit.

What else we’re reading and listening to

‘Kim does not just want more missiles, he wants better ones’ Of all North Korea’s missile systems tested in recent weeks, it is the development of a new generation of maneuverable weapons designed to evade missile defense systems that has most intrigued defense experts.

  • Related read: China and Russia’s hypersonic weaponry threatens US early warning system, writes William Schneider, Hudson Institute senior fellow.

Missile system types.  Graphic explaining the trajectories an manoeuvrability or three type of missile in North Korea's arsenal.  Ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and glide vehicles are explained Ballistic missiles: Lofted on high parabolic trajectories by boosters to predetermined targets.  In some cases warheads can be maneuvered by propulsion systems Glide vehicles: Initially boosted, they separate, re-enter the atmosphere and glide to targets.  Their aerodynamic forms increase range and maneuver Cruise missiles: Propelled continuously by jet engines, as with an airplane.  They remain within the earth's atmosphere and can travel at low altitudes

Tokyo reckons with the memory of its notorious ex-governor The recent death of Shintaro Ishihara, a rampant nationalist who made offense-giving an art form is a reminder that the city loves a rebel, writes Leo Lewis.

The nuclear power dilemma: where to put the lethal waste France is the last bastion of nuclear power in Europe. But even there, there’s high sensitivity surrounding the technology as the country explores new ways to dispose of radioactive materials. Public opposition remains as fierce as ever.

Does Peloton trick us into working out? This week, the FT Weekend podcast looked at the Peloton phenomenon. Host Lilah Raptopoulos and San Francisco correspondent Patrick McGee explore the behavioral science behind why we do not exercise and the tech that tricks our brains into doing it anyway.

Six things I wish I’d known about money when I was 20 Even after a decade of investing, Ken Okoroafor, co-founder of The Humble Penny still struggles to work out what to do. But it’s even harder for younger people, taking their first steps in investing at this tricky time. Here are six tips he wishes he had known earlier.


Writer Pico Iyer has been visiting Kyoto for more than 30 years – but the last few months have offered a fresh perspective during a winter without tourists.

© Alamy | A monk at Chishaku-in

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