A world famous US sports channel, ESPN, has said it will not send news staff to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing over COVID-19.

“Due to concerns about COVID-19 and other COVID-related restrictions, ESPN will not be sending any news personnel to the Winter Olympics in China and will instead focus on covering the Games remotely with a robust plan that will roll out prior to the beginning of competition next month,” ESPN said in a statement late Thursday.

The broadcaster previously planned to send four reporters to China, but it said the plan was abandoned later.

Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, and event and studio production & executive editor, said that they care about their employees’ health and safety, so the channel decided to keep them in the US during the Beijing 2022, which is set to start in early February.

“The safety of our employees is of utmost importance to us,” Williamson said.

“With the pandemic continuing to be a global threat, and with the COVID-related on-site restrictions in place for the Olympics that would make coverage very challenging, we felt that keeping our people home was the best decision for us,” he added.

The Beijing 2022 will be held on Feb. 4-20.

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