The International Olympic Committee said on Wednesday that the only people allowed to attend the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, China, are those who live in China.
“Tickets will be sold exclusively to spectators residing in China’s mainland, who meet the requirements of the COVID-19 countermeasures,” the IOC said. “Specific requirements on COVID-19 countermeasures for spectators from China’s mainland and the details of ticketing arrangements are under discussion and development, and will be released to the public in due course once they are finalized.”
The measures were put in place after consultations with international experts and the Chinese authorities, the release said.
There have been widespread calls for the U.S. and U.S. companies to boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics over communist China’s oppression of religious minorities in the country.
“Our position on the 2022 Olympics has not changed,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said earlier this year of Democrat President Joe Biden’s position on the 2022 Winter Olympics. “We have not discussed, and are not discussing any joint boycott with allies and partners.”
The move comes as international pressure is once again in ramping up from the World Health Organization and other entities to get to the bottom of the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.
“A new team of about 20 scientists—including specialists in laboratory safety and biosecurity and geneticists and animal-disease experts versed in how viruses spill over from nature—is being assembled with a mandate to hunt for new evidence in China and elsewhere,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “The possibilities that the new team is charged with examining include whether the Covid-19 virus could have emerged from a lab, according to WHO officials, a hypothesis that has especially angered China.”
The new effort comes after Beijing restricted the WHO’s first investigation into the origins of the pandemic, refusing to hand over raw patient data from early cases to investigators. China has sought to deflect attention over the possibility that the pandemic started in one of China’s labs that had serious safety issues by falsely blaming the United States, claiming without evidence that the coronavirus could have come from a lab in the U.S.
The WHO appears to be pressing ahead hard this second time around as they worry that time is running out to determine the pandemic’s origins since evidence such as samples are discarded and antibodies from early patients are fading.
“It took more than a year after the pandemic began for that original team to get visas and permission to enter China, which repeatedly delayed a probe it saw as an attempt to assign blame,” The Journal added. “After that visit, the team recommended further testing of animals in China and traders there who deal with wild or farmed mammals that are susceptible to Covid-19. Yet China’s government has shut down such farms across large regions, making it much harder—perhaps even impossible—to establish whether the Covid-19 virus spread to humans via such species, many scientists say.”
This report has been updated to include additional information.