As coronavirus spreads more and more companies are taking preventative action when it comes to travelling to or conducting things in China. British Airways recently suspended all flights to the country and some governments are placing people in quarantine for 14 days as a precaution if they’re coming back from the country. The effects of the coronavirus outbreak are hitting the games industry too. Earlier today the official Overwatch League Twitter put out a statement about upcoming events in China through February and March.
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) January 30, 2020
In short, all Overwatch League events have been cancelled through February and March in China. In the statement it is confirmed this action has been taken to protect all staff, players, and fans. It is likely we’ll see more events getting cancelled as China puts cities on lockdown and prevents people moving around to curb the outbreak.
The Overwatch League’s third season kicks off on 8th February in New York and Dallas, but these match cancellations will have an effect over following weeks. Shanghai was due to host in Week 2, Guangzhou in Weeks 3, 6 and 7, and Hangzhou in Week 4, with 27 matches in total cancelled and with no word on how Blizzard will rearrange or relocate them.
2020 sees the first meaningful local events with 52 Homestand weekends having teams hosting matches in their local territory instead of at the Blizzard Arena in LA which has been the competition’s home for the last two years. Now split into two separate Conferences and four Divisions, Pacific Conference and East Division that is most heavily affected by this.
Most recent figures state that over 7,700 people have been affected by the virus and there have been 132 confirmed deaths. Coronavirus has spread outside of China with Finland being the most nation to confirm a case of the infection. Outside of China there have been confirmed cases in Germany, the United States, Japan, Thailand, Australia, France, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Macau, Malaysia, and Canada. However, these infection numbers pale in comparison to China.
In the UK the advice has been given to those who are travelling back from China to self isolate themselves for 14 days. Upon doing so they need to call 111 or their local GP should they develop any of the symptoms of coronavirus. The symptoms include tiredness, high temperature, cough and or sore throat, and having difficulty breathing. Some symptoms are similar to the cold or flu so you have to also consider if you think you have had contact with anyone who has recently returned from China or if you have been yourself. If you suspect you have coronavirus do not present yourself at a hospital, GP, walk-in centre or other public space as you need to avoid the risk of spreading. Follow the instructions above and the emergency services will follow protocols to get you to care.