China says it will not sell Olympic tickets to the general public citing COVID-19 concerns
The country has been tightening COVID-19 restrictions ahead of the games set to begin the first week of February
January 17, 2022 4:24pm
Updated: January 17, 2022 5:09pm
The Organizing Committee of the Beijing Winter Olympics, which are just days away from starting, has announced that it will not be selling tickets to the general public due to COVID-19 concerns.
Initially, individuals living on mainland China were the only people allowed to purchase tickets for the event, but the committee has now revoked that plan, citing "the current grave and complicated situation of the COVID-19 pandemic."
In a statement, the committee wrote that the new policy is being put in effect to "ensure the safety of all participants and spectators."
Instead of being able to purchase tickets, select members of the general public will be invited by the committee to attend the games in person. Those individuals will have to "strictly abide" by COVID protocols "as pre-conditions for the safe and sound delivery of the Games."
The announcement arrives following the tightening by the Chinese government of COVID restrictions in Beijing and cities close to Beijing, in which a number of virus cases have been detected in recent days – though, according to China, nowhere near the numbers being reported across the globe as the Omicron variant continues to surge.
China has also banned air travels commuting via layover and will begin testing all children who attend international schools.
The Winter Olympic Games are scheduled to begin February 4 and run through February 20. The U.S. and a number of its allies will not be sending diplomats to the games in protest of the country's crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, in addition to other human rights abuses.