Next year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing will be held without fans from overseas with tickets restricted to fans living in China because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced.
The IOC also said only fully vaccinated participants at the Games, which start on February 4, would be exempt from a 21-day quarantine upon arrival, unless athletes can provide a “justified medical exemption”.
While acknowledging disappointment among international fans who will not be able to attend, the IOC welcomed the decision to have Chinese spectators after the Tokyo Summer Games were held inside empty stadiums due to COVID-19 precautions.
“This will facilitate the growth of winter sports in China … as well as bringing a favourable atmosphere to the venues,” the IOC said in a statement.
“However, all parties feel for the athletes and the spectators from around the world, knowing that the restriction on spectators from outside mainland China had to be put in place in order to ensure the safe holding of the Games this winter.”
The IOC said among the Beijing safety principles were that all fully vaccinated participants would enter what it called a “closed-loop management system” immediately upon their arrival, within which they will move freely.
It will stay in place for almost two months until after the Beijing Paralympic Winter Games close on March 13.
This will cover all Games-related areas and stadiums as well as accommodation, catering and the opening and closing ceremonies, served by a dedicated transport system.
All domestic and international participants, as well as the workforce in the system, will be tested daily, the IOC said.