Winter Olympics: China says tickets won’t be sold to general public due to Covid-19

“Regarding the grim and complex situation of epidemic prevention and control [and] In order to protect the health and safety of Olympic staff and spectators, we have decided to modify the initial plan for public ticket sales,” the committee said.

Groups of spectators will be invited on site throughout the Games and must “strictly comply with the Covid-19 prevention and control requirements before, during and after viewing the Games”.

In a statement on Monday, the International Olympic Committee said those in attendance will be residents of the Chinese mainland who have the required “Covid-19 countermeasures”.

The announcement comes after Beijing reported its first case of the highly transmissible variant of Omicron on January 15.

The Beijing Winter Olympics are scheduled to begin on February 4, ahead of the start of the Paralympic Winter Games on March 4.

Organizers intend to hold Beijing 2022 in a closed-loop system that will only be accessible to Games participants – a plan that has remained in place despite the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

As outlined in a Games manual published in December, the closed-loop system will encompass venues, official hotels and the event’s own transport service.

Fully vaccinated participants will be able to enter the closed loop without quarantine, while those who are not vaccinated will need to quarantine for 21 days upon arrival in Beijing.

Medical exemptions, considered on a case-by-case basis, may be granted to unvaccinated persons. Some countries, such as the United States and Canada, have required all team members to be vaccinated.

During the Games, participants will be subject to daily health monitoring and testing and will have no contact with the general public.

The return of a confirmed positive test will mean that participants will not be able to compete or continue their role in the Games; those who are symptomatic will stay in a designated hospital for treatment, while those who are asymptomatic will be moved to an isolation facility.

CNN’s George Ramsay contributed reporting.

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