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Beijing Winter Olympics tickets won’t be sold to public as Omicron surges

Only “selected” spectators will be invited to attend the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing due to safety concerns over the Omicron variant, officials announced on Monday. The Beijing Winter Olympics Organization Committee announced in a statement that tickets won’t be sold to the public “given the current grave and complicated situation of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Officials said they would instead “invite groups of spectators to be present on-site” during Olympic events, which are set to begin on Feb. 4. Prior to the change, Olympic organizers had already limited sales to individuals based in mainland China. The International Olympic Committee confirmed the ticket policy in a separate statement. The decision came after the first locally-transmitted case of the Omicron variant was confirmed over the weekend in Beijing. China has enacted strict health measures ahead of the Olympics, including a requirement that travelers take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival in Beijing. The testing policy begins on Jan. 22 and will stay in effect through March. The change in ticket policy marked the latest sign of trouble for this year’s Olympics. Aside from concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the international community has pushed back on the decision to allow China to host the games given allegations of ongoing human rights abuses. The Biden administration has enacted a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing games, though American athletes will still be permitted to participate. US-based corporate sponsors have also faced pressure to act, though none have dropped out of participating so far.




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