World figure skating championships in Montreal face cancellation over virus concerns

World figure skating championships in Montreal face cancellation over virus concerns

Quebec Health Minister Danielle McCann says the government is evaluating whether to allow the world figure skating championships to go ahead next week in Montreal.

Her comments Monday come after the International Ice Hockey Federation on Saturday cancelled the women’s world hockey championship scheduled to take place in Nova Scotia from March 31 to April 10 because of the spread of the novel coronavirus. Hockey Canada said Nova Scotia health officials recommended the event not be held at the scheduled time in a letter to the sport’s governing body.

McCann said provincial public health and public security officials are involved in the analysis of the March 16-22 figure skating event, with input from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

She says cancelling the competition has not been ruled out, and a decision will be made as quickly as possible.

“We have to do a case-by-case analysis of the events, but we are aware that we need to make a decision rapidly concerning the (figure skating event) … What I want to say is a decision needs to be taken as quickly as possible,” McCann said.

In a statement Monday, Skate Canada “said the event is scheduled to take place as planned.

‘Situation changing quickly’

“As the situation is changing quickly, we continue to monitor new developments of the evolution of COVID-19 in co-operation with the ISU and will follow the recommendations provided by the World Health Organization and the Public Health Agency of Canada,” the statement said.

Figure skaters still are preparing as if the event will go on.

Canadian Kirsten Moore-Towers, who is in the pairs competition with Michael Marinaro, said she’s not worried about a possible cancellation.

Quebec Health and Social Services Minister Danielle McCann. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

“Of course we’ve seen that other events are being cancelled, but honestly we really enjoy training and we enjoy training these programs, so regardless we would be devastated of course if the event got cancelled. But we do trust the people that make these decisions and we know that they will make the decision (that’s) best for us.

“Of course we wouldn’t want anyone’s health to be at risk for us to compete in a figure skating competition, so if the extreme was that much that that had to happen, we would understand, but we don’t foresee that happening.”

Event organizers continue to make plans as well. Acts for the March 18 opening ceremony were announced Monday.

The other major winter world championship event in Canada also remains on schedule for now. The women’s world curling championship is slated to start on Saturday in Prince George, B.C.

A World Rugby Sevens event went on as scheduled this past weekend in Vancouver.

Sports events around the world have been affected by the coronavirus.

On Monday, the Italian Olympic Committee suspended all sports in the country through April 3. Less than 24 hours earlier, the BNP Paribas Open, considered one of the top tennis tournaments outside the Grand Slams, was cancelled in Indian Wells, Calif.

Published at Mon, 09 Mar 2020 17:26:06 +0000