China reported 45 new cases of Covid-19 within the Winter Olympics bubble on the Games’ opening day , a doubling in cases in 24 hours as arrivals accelerated. In all, 25 of the cases were athletes and team officials and the rest were found among other “stakeholders”, a category that includes the media and Games partners, the event’s organising committee said on Saturday. Twenty-one cases were reported a day earlier. Officials said 26 of the new cases were identified on arrival at Beijing Capital International Airport while the remaining 19 were picked up during 71,709 tests conducted within the bubble. All Olympic-related personnel in China are staying within a “closed loop” bubble that separates them from the public to minimise transmission of the disease. Games participants enter the closed loop on arrival in Beijing, a city battling to contain outbreaks of the Omicron and Delta variants. Wang Jianhui, deputy director of Beijing’s disease control centre, said on Saturday that Olympics-related patients would be put into five different categories for separate treatment at different hospitals to avoid cross infection, Bloomberg reported. Huang Chun, deputy director of the organising committee’s Pandemic Prevention and Control Office, said last week that an increase in cases was expected as the number of arrivals increased. In addition to the Olympic-related cases, China also reported 27 new infections – 18 of them imported cases and nine local cases. Of the local cases, six were found in the southern cities of Shenzhen, Huizhou and Yunfu. Two were identified in Tianjin and one in Beijing. Strict “zero-Covid” preventive measures remain in place, with some local governments adding restrictions, including ordering people returning to their hometowns over the Lunar New Year to enter and pay for mandatory centralised isolation. On Friday, Ma Xiaowei, director of the National Health Commission, held talks via video link with World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who also attended the Winter Games opening ceremony. A statement released after the talks said Ma highlighted China’s success in containing the Covid-19 outbreak, specific measures to contain the pandemic spread during the Winter Games as well as means to support other nations to combat Covid-19. Ma pledged to support the WHO in reaching a malaria-free goal and other sustainable public health milestones by 2030, according to the statement. Tedros reportedly affirmed China’s achievement in containing the outbreak and its other public health contribution to the world.