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Beijing Winter Olympics Will Allow Spectators — But Only From Mainland China

The upcoming winter Olympic Games in Beijing will allow some spectators in the stands — but only if they're from mainland China.

The International Olympic Committee made the announcement on Wednesday, saying spectators from mainland China can purchase tickets if they meet a set of yet-to-be-released COVID-19 safety requirements.

During this past summer's Olympic Games, Japan did not allow fans in the stands in Tokyo, but some spectators were allowed for events in other regions of the country.

The IOC says having spectators in the stands for the Winter Games "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 favourable atmosphere to the venues."

The games, which will take place in February, will include several COVID-19 policies that were in place for the Summer Games in Tokyo.

As far as vaccination policy goes, athletes and participants in the games will not be required to be fully vaccinated, but those who are not will have to serve a 21-day quarantine upon arrival in Beijing.

A similar Olympic bubble system will exist in Beijing, and the participants in the games and the staff will be subject to daily COVID-19 testing, the IOC says.

Beijing will host the winter Olympic Games from Feb. 4 to 20 and the Paralympic Games from March 4 to 13.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Deepa Shivaram is a multi-platform political reporter on NPR's Washington Desk.