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Coronavirus: FEI in touch with Olympic organisers after Asian horse events cancelled

The FEI says it is “following the coronavirus situation closely” and in regular contact with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo Olympics organisers.

There have been more than 200 cases of the virus confirmed in Japan, excluding passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, and the country’s prime minister has asked all schools to close until the end of their spring holiday in early April. Sunday’s (1 March) Tokyo marathon has been limited from 38,000 to about 200 participants and the Hong Kong leg of the Longines Masters showjumping series (14 to 16 February) and Asia Horse Week (13 to 16 February) were cancelled.

The Games are due to start in Tokyo in five months’ time and the IOC says preparations are continuing as planned.

“Countermeasures against infectious diseases constitute an important part of Tokyo 2020’s plans to host safe and secure Games,” a spokesman told H&H. “Tokyo 2020 will continue to collaborate with all the relevant organisations that are carefully monitoring any incidence of infectious diseases, and will review any countermeasures that may be necessary with all the organisations concerned.

“In addition, the IOC is in contact with the World Health Organization as well as its own medical experts. We have full confidence that the relevant authorities, in particular in Japan and China, will take all the necessary measures to address the situation.”

The FEI told H&H it is in “regular contact with the IOC and the Tokyo organising committee”.

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“In addition, the FEI has issued the following advisory regarding the Coronavirus which can be found here,” a spokesman said, adding that the two Hong Kong equestrian events were cancelled by organisers “as a precautionary measure in line with guidance from the government”.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) said: “The industry’s steering group, which comprises the Racecourse Association, BHA and horsemen, will continue to liaise with government and monitor the implications of coronavirus. Further information or guidance will be issued to the industry as and when appropriate.”

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