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Philippines offers to host Olympic boxing qualifier after Wuhan pneumonia outbreak

Public Health Officials hand out disease monitoring information after performing a thermal scans on passengers arriving from Wuhan, China at Suvarnabumi Airport on January 8, 2020 in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand has ordered thermoscanning of passengers in four Thai airports, including Suvarnabumi, Don Mueang, Phuket and Chiang Mai. The disease surveillance and monitoring came about as a response to a severe pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan. (Photo by Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images)

With an outbreak of pneumonia hitting Wuhan, China just weeks before the city hosts the Asia and Oceania boxing qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the Philippines has offered to host the event instead.

Ed Picson, the secretary general of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines, said during an event yesterday: “We only have a little over two weeks to go. I know there are countries that have offered to host the event in lieu of Wuhan, China.

“We are also thinking about hosting it and I already sent feelers to the IOC task force regarding this. We feel that with the recent staging of the SEA Games we have the mechanics in place and the people who can perhaps undertake the hosting.”

However, he also said he doubted China would give up on hosting the qualifiers since the country has other venues to stage the event.

Picson said he had received an email from the International Olympic Committee boxing task force saying “no travel restrictions and extra measures are needed”, but that apprehensions still remained.

The IOC letter also said that the World Health Organisation has outlined that “China has strong public health capacities and resources to respond and manage respiratory disease outbreaks,” and that the WHO does not recommend measures for travellers to Wuhan, 1,152km north of Beijing.

The outbreak has 41 confirmed cases at time of reporting, but no new related cases have been found in China since January 3.