Another international sporting event, one scheduled to take place in B.C.’s Northern Interior, has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Health minister Adrian Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, announced early Thursday afternoon the 2020 World Women’s Curling Championship, slated to run March 16-24 in Prince George, be postponed indefinitely.
“Given the changing global circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak, in World Health Organization’s COVID-19 pandemic declaration and the increasing risks of community spread at large public gatherings, we are announcing today that we have recommended to the World Curling Federation that it postpone the 2020 World Women’s Curling Championship in Prince George,” Dix and Henry said in a joint statement.
Teams slated to participate at the World Women’s Curling Championship include: Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Russia, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.S.
“We made this decision after careful deliberation with local public health officials and the event organizers. We understand what the championship means to the athletes who have trained hard to compete, but the health of British Columbians is our first priority.
“We will continue to actively monitor COVID-19 and focus our efforts on containment in B.C.”
With the event now not taking place the World Curling Federation said it will consider the implications on Olympic qualification and discuss potential changes that will need to be considered with all the relevant stakeholders.
World Curling Federation President, Kate Caithness, said it’s an extremely disappointing situation.
“It’s with regret we’re announcing it is no longer possible to run this world championship,” Caithness said. “However, the safety of our athletes, officials, staff and supporters is paramount which we cannot guarantee with the fast-evolving nature of this worldwide situation.”
The announcement comes just a day after the NBA announced it was suspending its season due to a player testing positive for COVID-19, and the NHL announcing Thursday morning it will put a halt on its 2019/20 season until further notice.