Tickets for Beijing’s Winter Olympics will not be sold to the general public due to worries about COVID.

Only “targeted” groups will be able to get tickets for the games – which start on 4 February, said organisers.

International fans are already excluded because of China‘s strict border policy to prevent importing cases.

The organising committee said the “severe and complex” situation with the pandemic made it necessary to control ticket allocation and protect Olympics staff and other spectators.

People who do get tickets must stick to strict anti-COVID measures before, during and after the event, the committee added, without going into specifics.

It also did not say how tickets would be distributed.

The games, being held in the Chinese capital and the surrounding area, will take place in a “closed loop” designed to shield competitors and officials from the public.

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Most of the athletes will arrive on special charter flights and people taking part or working at the event will not be allowed outside contact and must take daily tests.

It comes as Beijing reported its first Omicron case on Saturday, prompting testing of 13,000 people and all the places visited by the person, said state media.

Their apartment complex and workplace were sealed off but they reportedly had not travelled outside the city for two weeks.

Chinese officials have a zero-tolerance approach to coronavirus and are trying to stop a major spread of the more infectious Omicron variant, which has so far not taken hold as it has in Europe and the US.

Millions of people have been under strict measures in other cities, such as Xi’an, after relatively small numbers of coronavirus cases were found.

People have also been urged not to travel as usual for the upcoming Chinese New Year, while tourist sites such as parts of the Great Wall, have also closed