Tuesday, June 6

Winter Olympics tickets won’t sell as China seeks to contain Covid | 2022 Winter Olympics

Tickets for the Beijing Winter Olympics will not be sold to the general public but distributed to “targeted” groups, organizers have announced, in China’s latest attempt to control the spread of the highly infectious Omicron Covid variant.

Beijing reported its first locally transmitted Omicron case over the weekend, bringing renewed pressure on authorities in the run-up to the Games, which kick off on February 4 and coincide with the week-long lunar new year celebrations. generally the busiest travel period of the year.

Winter Olympics organizers earlier said the Games would be kept on a “closed loop,” meaning only a limited number of spectators would be allowed into the venues. Foreign spectators will not be allowed to enter the country and the personnel involved in the Games must avoid contact with people outside the circuit.

On Monday, organizers mentioned the “serious and complex” Covid-19 situation and the need to protect the safety of Olympic Games staff and spectators in an announcement.

“In order to protect the health and safety of staff and spectators related to the Olympic Games, it was decided to adjust the original plan to sell tickets to the public and [instead] organize spectators to watch the Games on the spot,” they said.

Local spectators who receive tickets must observe strict covid-prevention measures before, during and after attending Olympic events, the organizing committee said, without elaborating or specifying how the tickets will be distributed.

China’s attempts to enforce its “zero-Covid” containment policy are threatened by the Omicron variant.

On Monday, authorities urged citizens not to order products from abroad, after they claimed that a recent Omicron infection detected in Beijing came from an international package sent from Canada. China has claimed that numerous Covid infections during the pandemic have come from imported products, often cold-chain items, but experts say the scientific basis for such claims is weak.

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Last month, North America’s national hockey league said its players would not participate in the Beijing Winter Olympics due to disruptions to the league’s schedule due to Covid.

The latest information about the first Omicron case in Beijing came hours before President Xi Jinping promised to present the world with “Optimized, Safe and Splendid Games” in his keynote speech at the Davos economic forum.

Chinese health authorities on Monday reported 223 cases from the previous 24 hours as of midnight, including 163 local transmissions. Most were in Tianjin, where the first case of Omicron in mainland China was identified on December 9.

Authorities said that 79 of its 80 cases in Tianjin were found in Jinnan district and 68 in Henan province, of which 60 were in the closed city of Anyang. One case reported in the southern city of Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong, was confirmed as Omicron.

Additional information from Reuters


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