Hong Kong Sevens Canceled as Virus Thwarts Rugby’s Big Party

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Hong Kong’s traders and bankers will miss out this year on one of the city’s biggest parties: the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, a three-day rugby tournament, has been canceled for the first time since its debut in 1976.

The event won’t take place this year “due to the ongoing and dynamic global situation with the Covid-19 pandemic, bringing the 2020 Series to an early conclusion,” the organizer World Rugby said in a statement Tuesday. The entire Sevens Series, including remaining events in Langford, London, Paris and Singapore, will be canceled.

The cancellation is the latest in a long list of sporting and entertainment events around the world to get hit by the pandemic that has caused more than 10 million infections and over 500,000 deaths. The tournament is also the latest blow to Hong Kong’s tourism and retail sector -- it draws fans from across the globe, earning the city at least $40 million in spending by tourists alone.

Hong Kong has been reeling for more than a year from anti-government protests, a weakening economy and now the coronavirus pandemic. Visitor arrivals fell 99.9% in May -- the fourth consecutive month with a slump of more than 96% -- due to border controls and quarantine policies.

The Hong Kong Sevens, originally scheduled for April, had previously been postponed until October due to concerns over the virus outbreak. Next year’s tournament in Hong Kong is still scheduled to take place April 2-4, the statement said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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