The World Women's Curling Championship 2020 that was scheduled for March 14 to 22 at the CN Centre has officially been cancelled.
In the release, The World Curling Federation says the tournament has been cancelled due to the ongoing spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
World Curling Federation President Kate Caithness says they were no longer able to run the event.
"It’s with regret we’re announcing it is no longer possible to run this world championship."
“However, the safety of our athletes, officials, staff and supporters is paramount which we cannot guarantee with the fast-evolving nature of this worldwide situation.
The World Curling Federation adds they will now also be considering and discussing potential changes that will need to be made since the event was a factor for qualification for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Bejing.
The federation also added the decision was made with the announcements of other major sporting events that have been cancelled in the last 24 hours and national travel restrictions.
"The event was set to take place between Saturday 14 and Sunday 22 March, in Prince George, British Columbia, with 13 Members Associations competing for the world title and coveted Olympic Qualification Points for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022," the statement reads."
"With the event now not taking place the World Curling Federation will consider the implications on Olympic qualification and discuss potential changes that will need to be considered with all the relevant stakeholders."
Minutes before the announcement, Dr. Bonnie Henry and provincial Health Minister Adrian Dix issued a joint statement, recommending the World Curling Federation postpone the event.
"Given the changing global circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak, including the World Health Organization's COVID-19 pandemic declaration and the increasing risks of community spread at large public gatherings, we are announcing today that we have recommended to the World Curling Federation that it postpone the 2020 World Women's Curling Championship in Prince George," the statement read.
"We made this decision after careful deliberation with local public health officials and the event organizers," the statement added."We understand what the championship means to the athletes who have trained hard to compete, but the health of British Columbians is our first priority."
For those who have already purchased tickets, refunds will be made available at the original point of purchase after March 23. If tickets were purchased online through ticketsnorth.ca, refunds will be processed automatically.