Organisers of this year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing have cancelled plans to sell tickets to the general public as part of strict Covid-19 restrictions in the Chinese capital.
The Games organisers previously said there would be no international spectators but had promised to allow domestic audiences. But tickets will now be distributed to invited “groups of spectators” only.
The Winter Olympics are scheduled to run from 4-20 February. The Winter Paralympics are due to begin in Beijing on 4 March.
Organisers changed plans as China reported 223 new Covid-19 cases for 16 January.
Spectators will be selected through official organisations and will be expected to adhere to strict coronavirus countermeasures.
The International Olympic Committee’s statement said: “Given the current situation of the Covid-19 pandemic, in order to ensure the safety of all participants and spectators, it has been decided that tickets should not be sold anymore, but be part of an adapted programme that will invite groups of spectators to be present on site during the Games.
“The organisers expect that these spectators will strictly abide by the Covid-19 countermeasures before, during and after each event so as to help create an absolutely safe environment for the athletes.”