The Longines Masters of Hong Kong is the latest victim of the deadly coronavirus outbreak sweeping Asia and beyond.

Originally slated for February 14–16 at the AsiaWorld-Expo, the Hong Kong leg of the Longines Masters Series has been cancelled as a precautionary measure following the 2019-nCoV coronavirus outbreak currently affecting the city of Hong Kong, Mainland China and across the APAC region.

Explained Christophe Ameeuw, EEM Founder and President:

“With more than 35,000 people expected from Hong Kong, Asia and around the world, the safety of our audience, athletes, visitors, exhibitors, service providers, internal teams, as well as that of the horses taking part in the events of the Longines Masters Series, is an absolute priority.

“Considering the uncertainty surrounding the 2019-nCoV Coronavirus outbreak, and in order to guarantee the welfare of our guests, partners and stakeholders, it is without hesitation that we decided not to hold the event from 14-16 February 2020. Our loyal partners, which include Longines, the Hong Kong Jockey Club, the Hong Kong Equestrian Federation, DBS Bank, Hong Kong International Airport, AsiaWorld-Expo, the Hong Kong Tourism Office and TVB Pearl, who have already been informed, showed their understanding and support.”

The Longines Masters of Hong Kong is the first of three legs on the 2020 Longines Masters calendar, which also stops in Paris and Lausanne.

Discovered in the 1960s, coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans, the viruses cause respiratory infections, which are typically mild. However, rarer forms, such as SARS, MERS and the 2019-nCoV strain, can be lethal. The death toll on the current outbreak reached 170 as of Thursday, with 7,711 confirmed cases in China. The World Health Organization is set to meet today to determine if the novel Coronavirus outbreak should be declared a global emergency.

At this time, there are no vaccines or antiviral drugs approved for prevention or treatment of Coronaviruses. Hand washing is considered the most effective first line of defense.