As part of tight infection control procedures, China cancelled plans to sell public tickets for the Winter Olympics in Beijing on Monday, allowing only invited guests to attend.
Last year, organisers stated there would be no overseas spectators — partially due to the country’s weeks-long quarantine rules — but that domestic viewers would be allowed.
However, on Monday, China recorded 223 new Covid-19 cases, the highest amount since March 2020 and just three weeks before the Winter Olympics.
“In order to protect the health and safety of Olympic-related personnel and spectators, it was decided to adjust the original plan to sell tickets to the public and (instead) organise spectators to watch the games on-site,” the Beijing Olympic organising committee said in a statement.
It’s unclear how these viewers will be chosen, or whether they’ll be required to quarantine before or after the Games.
Even as the rest of the world has reopened, China, where the coronavirus first surfaced in late 2019, has maintained a rigorous goal of targeting zero Covid cases.
Athletes and officials have begun to arrive in Beijing ahead of the Games, entering a tightly guarded bubble that separates them from the general public.
The 2022 Winter Olympics will take place in and around Beijing from February 4 to February 20, making Beijing the first city in modern history to host both a summer and winter Olympic Games.