Coronavirus outbreak: Hong Kong Rugby Sevens the latest event to be cancelled

South China Morning Post

The sell-out tournament follows the Arts Festival and several pop concerts in postponing or pulling events due to the Covid-19 spread.

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The latest event to be caught in the city’s battle against the coronavirus outbreak is the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens. It will likely be moved back to October.

This year’s tournament, the 45th edition, was scheduled to take place at Hong Kong Stadium from April 3-5.

Organisers had earlier said this year’s event was “all systems go” despite the virus, butthey have had to shelve the World Rugby Sevens World Series stop for six months.

A timeline of the spread of Covid-19

The Hong Kong Rugby Union, which co-hosts the tournament with World Rugby, remained tight-lipped on Wednesday night but a source told the Post an announcement would be made on Thursday by the game’s governing body.

HKRU chief executive Robbie McRobbie said late on Wednesday night: “We’ll make an announcement of what we intend to do tomorrow.”

It has been widely rumoured that the event would be rescheduled and October is the most likely date, according to the source.

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The Sevens is one of the most popular events in the city, with 40,000 fans packing the stadium in So Kon Po each day, and more than half of them coming from outside the city.

The event was not cancelled in 2003, despite being at the height of Sars.

Speculation that the 2020 Sevens would not go ahead began last year in the wake of the anti-government protests, then intensified after the spread of the virus to the city.

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This year’s Sevens joins a long list of sporting and other events that have been either cancelled or postponed because of either the protests or coronavirus.

In the past month, the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon and Longines Masters of Hong Kong showjumping event scheduled for February have been cancelled. Last week, the annual Hong Kong Arts Festival cancelled all events, and several K-pop and Canto-pop stars have pulled their concerts here and in Macau.