Tickets for the upcoming Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing will not be sold to the general public in response to Covid-19 but will instead be distributed by authorities, the Beijing Winter Olympics Organizing Committee announced Monday.
“In terms of the grim and complex situation of epidemic prevention and control [and] in order to protect the health and safety of Olympic personnel and spectators, we have decided to change the original plan of public ticket sales,” the committee said.
Groups of spectators will be invited on site throughout the Games and will be required to “strictly comply with Covid-19 prevention and control requirements before, during and after watching the Games.”
In a statement on Monday, the International Olympic Committee said those in attendance will be residents of China’s mainland who have the required “Covid-19 countermeasures.”
The announcement comes after Beijing reported its first case of the highly transmissible Omicron variant on January 15.
The Beijing Winter Olympics are set to begin on February 4, before the Paralympic Winter Games start March 4.
Organizers intend to hold Beijing 2022 in a closed loop system which will only be accessible for Games participants – a plan that has remained in place amid the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.
As outlined in a Games playbook 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 quarantining, while those who aren’t 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 those who are unvaccinated. Some countries, such as the US and Canada, have mandated that all team members be vaccinated.
During the Games, participants will be subject to daily health monitoring and testing and will have no contact with the general public.
Returning a confirmed positive test will mean participants cannot compete or continue their role in the Games; those who are symptomatic will stay at a designated hospital for treatment, while those who are asymptomatic will be transferred to an isolation facility.
CNN’s George Ramsay contributed reporting.