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Winter Olympics: China says tickets will not be sold to the public because of Covid-19

"With regard to the gloomy 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 change the original plan for public ticket sales," the committee said.

Groups of spectators will be invited on site throughout the Games and will be required to "strictly adhere to Covid-19 prevention and control requirements before, during and after watching the Games."

In a statement Monday, the International Olympic Committee said the attendees would be residents of mainland China who have the necessary "Covid-19 countermeasures."

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

The Winter Olympics in Beijing begin on February 4, before the Paralympic Winter Games start on March 4.

The organizers intend to hold Beijing 2022 in a closed circuit system that will be accessible only to game participants - a plan that has remained in place amid the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

As described in a game book released in December, the closed circuit will include venues, official hotels and the event's own transportation service.

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

Medical exemptions, which are assessed on a case-by-case basis, can be granted to those who are unvaccinated. Some countries, such as the United States 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 not have contact with the public.

Returning 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 transferred to an isolation facility.

CNN's George Ramsay contributed reporting.


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