Spectators could be permitted to attend test events for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, which start this week at the National Speed Skating Oval.
Nine venues are being put through their paces before the end of the year, all to stress test how the Games will work under China’s strict Covid-19 measures.
A speed skating exhibition will take place from Friday, but organisers have not been clear whether there will be a crowd there - or if they will need proof of vaccination.
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"If conditions allow we will arrange for spectators to attend certain competitions," Yao Hui, Director of Beijing 2022's Venue Management Department, told a news conference earlier.
It is the strongest indication yet that Beijing 2022 will be attended by at least some fans, after Tokyo 2020 took place largely without spectators, apart from some cycling events. However, no one from outside of China will be able to enter the country to watch the sports, with only residents permitted to purchase tickets.
Just like the summer Games, though, there are similar coronavirus measures to contend with, and organisers are already admitting it will be a “massive test” to keep infection under control, with over 2,000 participants from all over the world due to attend - but under strict conditions. Athletes will need to be fully vaccinated to avoid a 21 day compulsory quarantine.
"From when they enter the bubble to when they leave China, we will strictly enforce full-course point-to-point closed-loop management policies," said Huang Chun, the Deputy Director of Beijing 2022's Covid-19 Prevention and Control Office.
"In the closed loop, all event participants can only move between the competition venues and participate in activities related to their work, competition and training. Other activities are not allowed."
Beijing 2022 is due to run between 4-20 February.
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