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Coronavirus forces postponement of Singapore, Hong Kong rugby sevens

Passengers are seen wearing a protective mask on a train ride on January 30, 2020, in Singapore. (Getty/Kyodo)

SINGAPORE (Kyodo) -- Organizers have postponed the upcoming legs of the World Rugby Sevens Series in Singapore and Hong Kong, where local authorities are struggling to contain the spread of a new coronavirus.

    World Rugby, the Hong Kong Rugby Union and Sport Singapore said Thursday they have decided to reschedule the Hong Kong and Singapore rounds of the series due to health concerns amid the coronavirus outbreak.

    The Singapore Sevens, scheduled to take place April 11-12, has been pushed back to Oct. 10-11, while the Hong Kong Sevens has been moved from April 3-5 to Oct. 16-18.

    "The health and safety of our players, fans and everyone working on the event is always our highest priority," World Rugby said.

    News of the postponement comes as the number of confirmed infections in Singapore has risen to eight people, seven of whom are in intensive care.

    The government last week raised the alert level to orange, the same level as during the SARS epidemic in 2003, and advised against large gatherings. This has led to cancellations of several major events planned for the city-state in the first half of the year.

    Organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games have reiterated that the schedule of this summer's games will not be affected by the spread of the new coronavirus.

    Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic organizing committee head Yoshiro Mori on Thursday said, "Postponement of the Tokyo Games has not been considered."

    So far, 252 people in Japan -- more than 200 of whom are passengers and crew from a cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama -- are infected with the pneumonia-causing virus.

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