The organisers of next month’s Winter Olympics in Beijing have withheld plans to sell tickets to the general public.
While organisers had previously said there would be domestic access for fans, tickers are now set to be reserved for invited “groups of spectators” only.
Beijing will become the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games when the showpiece snow-sport event gets underway on 4 February.
In a statement, the International Olympic Committee 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 the 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.”
The International Olympic Committee’s relationship with China ahead of the Games has faced criticism after the organisation appeared as part of the saga surrounding tennis player Peng Shuai.