The Asian Games that were to take place in the Chinese city of Hangzhou in September have been postponed indefinitely due to Covid-19, organizers said on Friday.
The games were scheduled to be held from September 10 to 25 but have now been delayed as China seeks to curb the recurrence of infections in many parts of the country.
Hangzhou lies less than 120 miles[200 km]from Shanghai’s largest city, which has endured weeks of closure as part of a Communist anti-virus control group.
The Asian Olympic Council (OCA) said in a statement that the decision to postpone it was “taken by all concerned after careful consideration of the epidemic situation and the magnitude of the Games”.
The new Games dates, which usually attract more than 10,000 athletes across the region, will be announced “soon,” the report said.
This time, they show that they plan to hold an event under the “successful experience” virus control program at the Beijing Winter Olympics, which were held in February at the Covid rigid.
Hangzhou was set to become the third city in China to host continental competitions after Beijing in 1990 and Guangzhou in 2010.
Other events would be held in other provincial cities including Ningbo, Wenzhou, Huzhou, Shaoxing and Jinhua.
The OCA has also said that the Asian Youth Games, scheduled to be held in December in the Chinese city of Shantou, will be postponed once it has been postponed.
The World University Games, scheduled to kick off next month in Chengdu and have been delayed for the past year, are also expected to be canceled.
‘Fight the fine fight of the faith’
Almost all international matches have been suspended in China since the emergence of Covid in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.
The Beijing Olympics were special but held “closed” to everyone inside, including athletes, staff, volunteers and the media, taking daily Covid tests and not being allowed to enter a large city or communicate with the public. .
China adheres to the zero-Covid policy, imposing stricter closures, solitary confinement and mass testing procedures while other countries begin to reopen as the threat of a pandemic subsides.
The government has cited the plan as proof that it values human life above material concerns and can prevent public health problems seen in many Western lands.
China’s top leaders on Thursday vowed to “hold fast” to zero-Covid and to “fight hard” against policy criticism, without growing public outcry over the move.
The outrage was further exacerbated in Shanghai, where 25 million people have been kept under house arrest since March amid complaints of extreme closure measures and conditions of solitary confinement.