Beijing Olympic hockey players wear Covid face masks

Canadian and ROC women ice hockey players wore medical face masks on Monday during their Beijing Winter Games match, which also started an hour late, because of a delay in Covid test results.

Canada ended up dominating the match, winning 6-1.

The ROC players were on the ice for the scheduled start time but their opponents at Wukesong Sports Centre were not initially there for their Group A showdown.

Canadian player Natalie Spooner explained after the game that the delay was because their opponents hadn't received their test results yet.

"We were just waiting for results to come back and once they came back we were comfortable," said Spooner.

"Our coaches and medical staff were not going to put us in a situation where we would not feel safe.

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"This is probably a cool story in the long run. We can say we were at the Covid Olympics and we even wore a mask in a game."

The Olympics in the Chinese capital are taking place in a Covid-secure "closed loop" bubble, where everyone must wear a mask at all times – except, usually, when they are competing.

Everyone in the bubble must also have a Covid test each day.

"Pursuant to discussions between the two teams, they both agreed that the match would start with both sides wearing masks," the International Olympic Committee said in a statement.

The ROC players took their masks off in the third period.

"The results came in and they were negative and they said they were going to take their masks off," said Spooner.

"We figured we had them (the masks) on for two periods so why not keep being extra safe for one period."

There have been 387 positive cases since January 23 in the bubble, according to official figures, among them an unknown number of players. (AFP)

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