Coronavirus Outbreak Prompts China to Postpone Indoor World Athletics Championships

© REUTERS / STRINGERWorkers in protective mask disinfects a waiting hall following the outbreak of a new coronavirus at the Nanjing Railway Station, in Nanjing
Workers in protective mask disinfects a waiting hall following the outbreak of a new coronavirus at the Nanjing Railway Station, in Nanjing - Sputnik International
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The outbreak of what has now been identified as a deadly new coronavirus strain is said to have begun in December 2019 at a seafood market in Wuhan, in central China, quickly spreading across the country. The number of those infected has exceeded 6,000, while over 130 deaths have been registered in China alone.

The World Athletics said Wednesday that it had postponed the Indoor World Championships slated for March in Nanjing, China, until 2021, over concerns that athletes could be put at risk by competing in virus-hit China.

"We know that China is doing all it can to contain the new Coronavirus and we support them in all their efforts, but 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 Organisation [WHO], 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 organization said in a statement.

The WHO said earlier on Wednesday that it would soon introduce a global health emergency due to the continued spread of the infection.

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Despite efforts to contain the disease, cases have been reported in Australia, Cambodia, France, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates.

China's Wuhan is ground zero for the latest strain of the deadly coronavirus, dubbed 2019-nCoV, which has prompted authorities around the globe to impose special screenings at airports for flu- and pneumonia-like symptoms, particularly for passengers arriving from this, and other, Chinese cities.

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