A Beijing official on Wednesday said that Winter Olympics participants could be expelled for violating COVID-19 restrictions.
Zhang Jiandong, vice mayor and member of the Beijing 2022 organizing committee, said athletes will be sealed off from the rest of society for training, dining and other events while in China for the Winter Olympics, The Associated Press reported.
Along with strict rules on who and what they can see, athletes will need to be fully vaccinated and be regularly tested during the Games.
“All participants of the Games and our Chinese staff and volunteers will implement the same policy,” Zhang said. “They will be strictly separated from the external society."
Family and spectators from outside the country also will not be allowed to attend due to the coronavirus.
“Those who do not comply with the epidemic prevention regulations may face severe consequences such as warning, temporary or permanent cancellation of registration, temporary or permanent disqualification or expulsion from the competition, and other punishment,” Zhang said, according to the AP.
“Indeed, epidemic prevention and control is the biggest challenge for us to host the Winter Olympic Games,” Zhang added.
Beijing is the first city to have hosted both the winter and summer Olympics. The summer games were there in 2008.
Tokyo had to postpone the 2020 Olympics for a year due to the virus, with dozens of staffers still contracting the virus in connection with the Games.
The Olympics in Beijing has been a point of debate as many human rights groups and activists have argued that the Olympics should be boycotted due to the country’s human rights abuses.