MUMBAI (Reuters) – China and Hong Kong have had to withdraw from this week’s Badminton Asia Team Championships in Manila due to the coronavirus outbreak, organizers said on Tuesday.
More than 42,000 people have been infected by the flu-like virus in mainland China, with authorities confirming more than 1,000 deaths.
The Philippines has temporarily banned all travelers from China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan due to the outbreak, leaving organizers scrambling to try to arrange visas for players and officials for the Feb. 11-16 event.
“However, the decision to impose the 14 days quarantine period for all travelers coming from China, Hong Kong and Macau has to be respected in view of the health and safety of the Philippines government for its people,” Badminton Asia said in a statement.
“It is in this respect that the above event will not see the teams from China and Hong Kong competing. The India’s Women Team withdrawal was owing to concerns shown by the parents and players.”
India will, however, send its men’s team after they agreed to travel to Manila.
The tournament will lose much of its sheen with the withdrawal of China, which has been the dominant force in badminton for decades.
The coronavirus epidemic has had a major impact on the sports calendar in Asia.
The outbreak has seen Olympic qualifying tournaments for boxing, basketball and women’s soccer postponed, rescheduled or moved from China, while badminton, motor sports, hockey and tennis events have also been affected.
The world indoor athletics championships, which were due to be held in Nanjing from March 15-18, was arguably the biggest event to be affected by the outbreak.
(This story adds dropped word in seventh para)
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Peter Rutherford)