Table tennis worlds postponed in South Korea, several football matches canceled in Japan

The Table Tennis Team Worlds, scheduled to take place next month in the South Korean city of Busan, have been postponed until June due to the coronavirus epidemic, the International Federation said in a statement on Tuesday. The competition, originally scheduled for March 22 to 29, was rescheduled from June 21 to 28, according to a still tentative schedule, said the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).

This postponement comes the day after the kick-off of the South Korean football championship. The South Korean volleyball, basketball and handball federations have taken similar steps. South Korean health authorities announced 60 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the total number of people infected with the disease to 893. This is the highest level outside mainland China, where the coronavirus appeared in December.

Japanese football also affected

The Japanese football federation announced the postponement of seven cup matches scheduled for Wednesday, due to fears of the spread of the coronavirus in the archipelago. The J-League announced on Tuesday its decision to postpone all scheduled matches until March 15, due to fears of the spread of coronavirus. These measures are being taken in response to government instructions to limit the gathering of people as much as possible, in order to avoid mass contagion at a time deemed critical by infectious disease specialists.

Several football championships are already pending across Asia due to the epidemic of the new coronavirus. All Chinese Championship matches have been suspended sine die, causing the start of the 2020 season to be postponed. Championship competitions in South Korea, the second most affected country, were also interrupted. In Japan, the coronavirus has so far infected 691 people in the quarantined liner Diamond Princess near the port of Yokohama, and 156 people in different provinces of the archipelago.

The suspension of Japanese Cup matches comes five months before the Tokyo Olympic Games, scheduled to start on July 24. The organizing committee of the Olympic Games announced on Saturday that it would delay the training of volunteers who will supervise the Olympic fortnight, because of the epidemic, and the Tokyo marathon on March 1 will finally be closed to some 38,000 registered amateur runners.

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