South Korea table tennis world championships postponed over virus fears

SEOUL (Reuters) – Next month’s table tennis world championships in South Korea have been postponed until June over health concerns as the east Asian nation grapples with an outbreak of the coronavirus.

The event was scheduled for March 22-29 in the southern city of Busan but will be pushed back provisionally to June 21-28, organizers said on Tuesday.

“Given the uncertainty and changing situation in Korea Republic amidst the outbreak of COVID-19 across the nation, the decision was made with the health and safety of players, officials and fans as the top priority,” the International Table Tennis Federation said in a statement.

South Korean health authorities have been battling a surge of new coronavirus cases that took the nation’s tally to 893 on Tuesday. Nine have died from the virus in the country.

A slew of cases have been reported in Busan, the country’s second largest city.

The virus has infected more than 80,000 people around the world, including more than 77,000 in China. More than 2,600 people have died in China’s central Hubei province alone.

The outbreak has had a major impact on the global sporting calendar, with a host of events canceled or postponed, and raised alarm bells for Tokyo Olympics organizers.

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