HONG KONG (Reuters – Sports bodies in China have been banned from organizing events that will draw large crowds until further notice due to the coronavirus outbreak, the country’s National Sports Bureau said in a directive issued on Tuesday.
In a letter sent to sporting bodies across China, the bureau said mass participation events were not to proceed as the country aimed to avoid a second wave of infections being brought in from overseas.
Nearly 800,000 people have been infected across the world and more than 38,800 have died from the virus, according to a Reuters tally.
“In order to fulfill our duty to stop the virus being imported at the border and prevent the rebound in domestic infections, and to reduce unnecessary people flow and its consequent threat to virus prevention, from now until further notice major sporting events which gather crowds, such as marathons, will not resume,” the statement said.
“In the meantime, please continue to direct the public to maintain a healthy lifestyle and organize online sporting activities. The National Sports Bureau will update according to the developing virus situation.”
Numerous events have been canceled or postponed in China since the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan in January.
The World Indoor Athletic Championships, which were due to be held in Nanjing in March, have been postponed until next year while national leagues, such as the country’s football and basketball competitions, have yet to commence their season or are currently suspended.
Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Peter Rutherford