Olympic boxing, soccer qualifiers in China canceled over fear of coronavirus

The coronavirus has already impacted the 2020 Olympics. (Thepaper via AP)
The coronavirus has already impacted the 2020 Olympics. (Thepaper via AP)

A boxing qualifier for the Olympics has been canceled over fear of spreading the coronavirus. The event — which was set to take place in Wuhan, China — was the first boxing qualifying event for the 2020 Olympics.

The qualifier was called off after an outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan. The virus — which originated in Wuhan — has killed at least 17 people in China.

The Wuhan qualifying event was slated to start Feb. 3. As a result, the first boxing qualifier will now take place in Senegal on Feb. 20. A qualifying event for women’s soccer has also been moved out of Wuhan.

Concerns over the coronavirus aren’t just limited to Wuhan. Japan — which will host the 2020 Olympics — is already cautious about exposing athletes, tourists and locals to the virus during the Tokyo Olympics, according to Reuters.

“We have to be very careful about what kind of infectious diseases will appear at the Tokyo Olympics,” Kazuhiro Tateda, president of the Japanese Association for Infectious Diseases, told a briefing on Wednesday.

“At these kinds of mass gatherings, the risks increase that infectious diseases and resistant bacteria can be carried in.”

Tokyo 2020 stressed it will work on “countermeasures” to prevent spreading infectious diseases during the Olympics.

If history is any indication, the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo will proceed as planned. There were similar concerns heading into the 2016 Olympics in Brazil over the Zika virus, but the event still occurred on schedule.

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