Beijing Games to allow only fans from mainland

The International Olympic Committee says only spectators from China's mainland will be allowed at the Beijing 2022 Winter Games as part of coronavirus countermeasures.

The IOC approved the safety measures drawn up by organizers of the Beijing Games at an Executive Board meeting held online on Wednesday in the presence of the International Paralympic Committee.

The Olympic Games will open on February 4, while the Paralympic Games will be held from 4 March.

Under the principles, which will go into effect from January 23, all Games athletes and participants will be allowed to move only between their accommodation and Games-related venues for training, competition and work. They will be tested for the virus every day.

Participants who are not fully vaccinated must spend 21 days in quarantine upon arrival in Beijing. Those who provide a justified medical exemption will have their cases considered.

The IOC says the first version of the Playbooks detailing the principles will be released in late October.

The IOC said it welcomes the decision to allow for ticket sales to spectators in China's mainland. It also said, "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."

But it also acknowledged the likely disappointment among athletes who will not be able to have family members accompany them and overseas spectators.

It said, "all parties feel for the athletes and the spectators from around the world, knowing that restrictions on spectators from outside mainland China had to be put in place in order to ensure the safe holding of the Games this winter."