Workers spray disinfectant at a train station in Wuhan in southern China's Hubei province, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. Chinese health authorities urged people in the city of Wuhan to avoid crowds and public gatherings, after warning on Wednesday that a new viral illness that has infected hundreds and caused at least nine deaths could spread further. (Chinatopix via AP)

Olympic soccer qualifying moved in China because of virus

January 22, 2020 - 5:36 am

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Olympic qualifying games for the women’s soccer tournament were moved Wednesday from Wuhan, China, because of an outbreak of a viral illness.

The Asian Football Confederation said the round-robin group — host China, Australia, Taiwan and Thailand — will be played in Nanjing on Feb. 3-9, the same dates.

Chinese health authorities have told people in the city of Wuhan to avoid crowds and public gatherings.

The Asian soccer body’s decision was announced hours before a World Health Organization meeting in Geneva, which could declare the outbreak a global crisis.

More than 400 people have been infected and at least nine killed since the outbreak emerged last month. The illness comes from a newly identified type of coronavirus.

Cases have also been reported in the United States, Japan, South Korea and Thailand. All involve people from Wuhan or who recently traveled there.

In the soccer qualifiers in China, two teams advance to a four-nation playoff round in March. That will decide which two teams from Asia join host Japan at the Tokyo Olympics.

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