The severe outbreak of Coronavirus is China has led to the postponement of China Masters 2020, the organisers said on Saturday. The six-day China Masters – the first badminton tournament of the 2020 World tour season – was to start on February 25 at Lingshui in China, but considering the risks involved, the organisers believe it is sensible to push the event to a further date.

“The Badminton World Federation (BWF) will continue to closely monitor implications related to the coronavirus outbreak in China and surrounding areas with all necessary health, safety and travel precautions currently being considered,” a statement released by the BWF stated.

“We also acknowledge today’s decisions to suspend flights to and from China in some countries and we are mindful of the complications this may have on the HSBC BWF World Tour, other BWF-sanctioned tournaments, and the badminton community in general.”

Currently, no decision has yet been made on any change in status to the Lingshui China Masters 2020 scheduled to take place between 25 February to 1 March, but the BWF is working with local organisers and the Chinese Badminton Association to create greater clarity around any risks.

The BWF can also confirm that Badminton Asia is reviewing its flagship event, the 2020 Badminton Asia Championships to be staged in Wuhan, China, and the BWF will support Badminton Asia and the Chinese Badminton Association in this process. It is, however, too early at this time to make any final conclusions related to this event.

The 2020 Badminton Asia Championships falls within the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualification window and is one of the last opportunities for athletes to qualify for the Olympics Games.

The China Masters joins a growing list of sporting events to be delayed or called off in the wake of the epidemic. The LPGA on Thursday cancelled its 2020 Blue Bay tournament slated for next month in Hainan, citing health concerns and growing travel restrictions implemented to slow the infection’s spread.

The deadly Coronavirus has already claimed the lives of 259 people in China and as per recent figures, left more than 1200 effected.