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Olympic qualifying events canceled, moved amid Wuhan coronavirus outbreak

More upcoming events could be threatened as concerns about the virus rise.

International sports events in China are being affected amid growing concern on the spread of a new virus outbreak in the country.

The international ski federation canceled the first World Cup races scheduled for the mountain venue where the sport will be held during the 2022 Beijing Olympics. A men's downhill had been scheduled for Feb. 15 in Yanqing to start a two-race weekend, but was cancelled. 

“Due to the outbreak and continuing spread of the Novel Coronavirus, FIS, the Chinese Ski Association and its Yanqing Local Organizing Committee, have jointly decided to cancel,” FIS said in a statement to the Associated Press.

The ski federation said it would advise later if the downhill and super-G races will be be rescheduled.

Games in China next week in field hockey's women's Pro League have also been postponed. Olympic qualifying events scheduled in China in February in soccer, basketball and boxing have been moved elsewhere to Australia and Serbia.

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More upcoming events could be threatened as the virus continues to spread. The Formula One race in Shanghai is scheduled to take place on April 19 and draws large crowds. The indoor track and field world championships are also held in China from March 13-15 in Nanjing.

The 2020 Summer Olympics will be held in Tokyo, Japan. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike expressed concerns about the virus Wednesday. 

“With only 177 days to go and our preparations accelerating, we must firmly tackle the new coronavirus to contain it, or we are going to regret it,” Koike said, speaking to heads of 62 municipalities. ”I will do the utmost to contain this new problem as we cooperate closely with all of you.” 

The Tokyo Olympic organizers say they would "carefully monitor any incidence of infectious diseases" and "review any countermeasures that may be necessary with all relevant organizations" in a statement.

More than 100 deaths in China have been recorded because of the virus.

China's latest count of 5,974 cases on the mainland was a smaller daily rise than the previous day's -- 1,459 new cases on Wednesday compared to 1,771 on Tuesday.

U.S. health officials are expanding screenings of international travelers and taking other precautions but, for now, they insist the risk to Americans is very low.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Tuesday that worry about the virus should not impact Americans' day-to-day lives. So far there are five confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. and no sign they have spread the illness to those around them. But as a precaution, the U.S. is beefing up its checks on returning international travelers beyond the five airports initially announced, to encompass 20 entry points.


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