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Coronavirus declared global health emergency by World Health Organization

Coronavirus declared global health emergency by World Health Organization
January 31, 2020

The Wuhan Coronavirus has been declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization, as the outbreak continues to spread outside China.

Announcing the move yesterday, WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated "the main reason for this declaration is not what is happening in China but what is happening in other countries.”

Amid a concerns that the virus could spread to countries with weaker health systems, many airlines have suspended flights to China while some nations, including the USA, have told their citizens not to travel to China.

At least 213 people in the China have died from the virus, mostly in the Hubei province, with official Chinese figures citing almost 10,000 cases across the country.

The outbreak continues to impact sport events with World Athletics advising of the postponement of its World Athletics Indoor Championships Nanjing 2020.

The event, due to have been held in the city of Nanjing from 13th to 15th March this year has been postponed to March 2021.

In a statement, World Athletics advised “it is necessary to provide our athletes, Member Federations and partners with a clear way forward in what is a complex and fast-moving set of circumstances.

“The advice from our medical team, who are in contact with the World Health Organization, is that the spread of the Coronavirus both within China and outside the country is still at a concerning level and no one should be going ahead with any major gathering that can be postponed.

“The indoor season for athletics falls within a narrow calendar window - up to the end of March - and we believe we will be able to find a suitable date in 2021 to host this event. We would like Nanjing to be the host given the extensive planning and preparation they have put into this event.

“We have chosen not to cancel the Championships as many of our athletes would like this event to take place so we will now work with our athletes, our partners and the Nanjing organising committee to secure a date in 2021 to stage this event.”

Another event impacted is the inaugural Chinese winter X Games event, which was scheduled to debut in Chongli, Hebei province, from 21st to 23rd February.

However, ESPN, the creator of the X Games, has now announced the event will be rescheduled.

In a statement reported by the Forbes website, ESPN advised “due to the ongoing coronavirus concerns, the X Games Chongli 2020 event will be postponed until a later date.

“The safety of our athletes, staff and spectators is our top priority, and we will continue to closely monitor the situation.”

In January 2019, a multi-year hosting agreement was signed between ESPN and REnextop Entertainment to stage events in China. The first X Games China event featured summer sport disciplines and was held in June in Shanghai.

In November, it was announced that X Games Chongli would be held at the Genting Resort Secret Garden ski resort, which is also earmarked as a venue for the 2022 Beijing winter Olympics. The disciplines featured were set to be men’s and women’s, and ski and snowboard, versions of big air, slopestyle and superpipe (known as halfpipe at the Olympics).

Concerns over the virus have led to a raft of both domestic and international sporting events being cancelled or postponed.

Images: The World Athletics Indoor Championships Nanjing 2020 where to have been held at Nanjing’s Cube but have now been postponed to 2021 (top, courtesy of LOC) and the Coronavirus (below).

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