Due to the coronavirus spreading rapidly, the Chinese Football Association has opted to withdraw as the official Olympic women’s soccer qualifying event host. This will now move to Australia where the qualifying for Round 3 has already been moved from its original location of Wuhan, the location of where this virus began. The announcement came on Sunday with reasons cited for the venue change being public safety.
To date, there have been over 2,000 Chinese infected with coronavirus. Of the 2,000 infected, 56 have passed away, and the result was the Chinese government putting Wuhan in lockdown while working at a rapid pace to construct a hospital that will have 1,000 beds, a move being made in anticipation for the worst-case scenario. In addition to efforts from the Chinese, health authorities worldwide are working together in attempts to control the outbreak. The hope is to stop it from spreading, but this is proving to be a challenge.
The Olympic women’s soccer Group includes Taiwan, Thailand, China and Australia and is slated to take place between the 3rd of February and the 9th. The two top placing teams will then move onto Group A, which currently includes Vietnam, Myanmar and South Korea. They will play in both away and home games to determine the two countries to join Japan as women representing Asian countries at the 2020 Olympics.
As a host nation, China is taking extreme caution towards the risk of exposing locals, athletes and of course, tourists to the virus. While the games are six months away, they have chosen to move a number of events to other locations as a precaution. One of those was a boxing event that was scheduled to take place in Wuhan’s but was cancelled and subsequently moved to Senegal where it will occur on the 20th of February. The International Tennis Federation on Sunday also chose to move Asia/Oceania Group 1 tournament from China. The event will now take place in Sultan, Kazakhstan between the 4th and 8th of February. The ITF stated that is made the decision after the continuation of “increasing travel restrictions”.
Death Toll Rising
It is estimated that the coronavirus could infect as many as 100,000 worldwide experts are warning. That has seen the United Kingdom government having to reassure its people that it is in a position to respond should cases be reported within the United Kingdom. An Imperial College public health expert, Prof Neil Ferguson noted that his best estimation is there are at least 100,000 already infected however to date, only 2,200 cases have been reported. Of those, the largest number are from the originating source, Wuhan.
Although so far there have not been any positive infections within the U.K, the Labour Party is calling on the UK Government to confirm with the public that should an outbreak occur on British soil that the National Health System will be capable of dealing with it, even while struggling with the usual flu season.