Rugby Sevens rescheduled for October due to coronavirus outbreak, as infections creep up to 51

Fiji celebrate winning the Cup Final against South Africa on the third and final day of the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens Tournament on April 9, 2017. PhotoL Isaac Lawrence
Fiji celebrate winning the Cup Final against South Africa on the third and final day of the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens Tournament on April 9, 2017. PhotoL Isaac Lawrence

The Rugby Sevens, arguably Hong Kong’s highest-profile sporting (and drinking) event of the year, will be postponed until October as the city battles the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

The event was due to take place at the Hong Kong Stadium from April 3 to 5, but according to a statement from World Rugby,  organizers have decided to reschedule the Hong Kong and Singapore rounds of the tournament to Oct. 10 to 11, and Oct. 16 to 18, respectively, due to concerns over the Wuhan coronavirus.

“The health and safety of our players, fans and everyone working on the event is always our highest priority,” the statement reads. “This prudent decision has been taken in order to help protect the global rugby community and the wider public and was taken based on the World Health Organisation and relevant public authority travel and health guidelines. The decision is fully supported by stakeholders, including unions and commercial partners.”

It goes on to say that the 2021 installment of the tournament will take place in April as usual.

This year’s Rugby Sevens will be the 45th edition of the tournament, and is just the latest in a long string of events that have been canceled or rescheduled, first because of last year’s months-long pro-democracy protests, and now because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Last week, Art Basel called off its annual Hong Kong fair, and on Monday, the Hong Kong Arts Festival decided to completely cancel its 48th outing just days after vowing to soldier on despite a handful of venues pulling out.

Other high-profile events to have been canceled or postponed in the last several months include a stand-up show by comedian and Daily Show host Trevor Noah, a Carly Rae Jepsen concert, the Hong Kong Tennis Open, performances of Matilda: The Musical, and the Clockenflap arts and music festival.

Meanwhile, health officials confirmed today that one more person has tested positive for the new coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 51.

The latest case is a 43-year-old man from Tuen Mun who had no travel history. He is believed to have caught the virus from a relative at a family dinner gathering over the Lunar New Year break.

Officials say that the latest case had been to work since being infected, and that they would quarantine about a dozen of his colleagues, and track down any clients he may have been in contact with.


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