China’s national women’s soccer team has been quarantined in a Brisbane hotel until February 5 amid coronavirus fears.
The team is in Australia to play in an Olympic qualifying tournament, which had originally been due to be staged in Wuhan in China.
But as the Wuhan coronavirus spread across Asia and the rest of the world, the tournament was moved to Nanjing in China and then Sydney. At least 132 people are dead and more than 6,000 cases have been confirmed in mainland China.
The Chinese women’s team had flown to Brisbane in Queensland, Australia ahead of playing in the Sydney tournament, but is now being held at their hotel.
“We are working closely with the hotel and the 32 individuals concerned – who are all well and not showing symptoms – and we have Queensland Heath staff present at the hotel,” said Dr. Jeannette Young, Chief Health Officer at Queensland Health.
“The hotel is in the process of alerting other guests and staff and making suitable arrangements. We want to reassure the public, no one else in this hotel, including staff, is at risk.
“If any of the individuals begin to show symptoms, they will be transferred to a hospital, and any necessary contact tracing will take place.”
Queensland Health acted amid fears for the spread of the deadly coronavirus in Australia. There are 91 confirmed cases outside of China, including at least five in the US.
Australia has seven confirmed cases after a 44-year-old Chinese national in Queensland was found to have the illness.
The Chinese women’s team had been due to play Thailand on February 3, but will no longer be able to following their quarantine order.
A number of sporting events in China have already been postponed, cancelled or under threat.
The Chinese team’s quarantining of the marks the latest disruption in the sporting world caused by the coronavirus:
- The China Football Association Super Cup game between China FA Cup winners Shanghai Shenhua and Chinese Super League champions Guangzhou Evergrande due to take place on February 15 has been postponed until further notice.
- The start of the new Chinese Basketball Association League – scheduled for February 1 – has been postponed.
- The Asian Athletics Association canceled the Asian Indoor Track and Field Championship to ensure “the safety of our athletes.” The championships had originally been scheduled to be held in Hangzhou from February 12 to 13.
- The 14th Chinese National Winter Games’ official opening ceremony was scheduled for February 16, though events like women’s ice hockey and biathlon were due to take place on February 1. However, the Games have now been postponed.
- The Hong Kong Marathon is an umbrella event for three races –10 kilometers, half and full marathon. Some 74,000 people had signed up to compete in the February 8 and 9 races but they have now been canceled.
- The 2020 League of Legends Spring tournament – scheduled to begin on February 5 – and the 2020 Legends Development League have both been postponed.
- Other Olympic sport qualifiers affected include the Asian and Oceanic boxing event, which was moved from Wuhan to Jordan, and women’s basketball, which has had its qualifying competition switched from Fuhan to Serbia.
- The first Winter X-Games to be held in China have been postponed. The event was scheduled to take place from February 21-23 in Chongli.
- The International Ski Federation has confirmed that the downhill and super-G men’s alpine skiing World Cup races, which were due to take place on February 15 and 16 have been canceled.