By Alison Fox
Oct 12, 2021
EVEN THOUGH THE TOKYO OLYMPICS finished up not too long ago, Covid-19 precautions are already in place for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing — including a ban on international spectators, according to an announcement by The International Olympic Committee. While spectators from mainland China will be allowed to watch the games, which kick off on February 4, they will have to “meet the requirements of the COVID-19 countermeasures,” which are currently “under discussion and development.”
“The IOC and [International Paralympic Committee] welcome the decision to allow for the sale of tickets to spectators residing in China’s mainland. This will facilitate the growth of winter sports in China by giving those spectators a first-hand Olympic and Paralympic experience of elite winter sports, as well as bringing a favorable atmosphere to the venues,” the organization wrote. “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 ticketing rules follow the playbook of the 2020 Tokyo Games, which initially intended to welcome about 10,000 Japanese fans. Ultimately, spectators were banned from the Summer Olympics following the announcement of a state of emergency, a move Beijing is hoping to avoid.
Beijing will require all unvaccinated athletes to quarantine for 21 days upon arrival, according to the IOC.
Alternatively, fully-vaccinated participants will be able to “enter the closed-loop management system,” a bubble that covers everything from their accommodation to catering and the actual competitions. China will accept any vaccine that has been recognized by the World Health Organization or similar international organizations, “or approved officially by the countries or regions concerned.”
Everyone inside the bubble will be subject to daily testing, the IOC noted.
The announcement comes as China has reported vaccinating about 79 percent of its population, according to Reuters. The country is currently reporting an average of 33 new infections per day, or 1 percent of when cases were at their peak.