China will no longer allow the Chinese public to attend the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Citing the continuing threat from Covid-19, the Beijing 2022 organizing committee announced it would end ticket sales to all events “to ensure the safety of all participants and spectators.”
The committee had already banned foreign spectators from attending the games, but initially the plan was to allow residents to buy tickets to various events. The new guidelines, published today, will invite certain groups of spectators, although the committee has not yet announced who that might involve.
“Given the current situation of the Covid-19 pandemic, in order to ensure the safety of all participants and spectators, it has been decided that tickets should not be sold anymore but be part of an adapted program that will invite groups of spectators to be present on site during the Games,” the committee said in a statement. “The organizers expect that these spectators will strictly abide by the COVID-19 countermeasures before, during and after each event so as to help create an absolutely safe environment for the athletes.”
Two days ago, health authorities reported Beijing’s first case of the Omicron variant. Although transmission has been relatively low in the city, the authorities ordered an immediate lockdown and mass testing in one neighborhood to contain the spread ahead of the Olympics.
The organizing committee previously released details on the safety measures that will be in place for the games. These include creating a “closed loop” management system to isolate athletes, spectators, journalists, and Olympic workers within the three clusters of venues where the events will take place. All participates and employees will be subject to daily testing.
The Olympic Winter Games will take place Feb. 4-20, 2022, with the Paralympic Winter Games to be held March 4-13, 2022.