A chess tournament in Russia was stopped over the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday.
The international chess governing body, FIDE said on its website that Russia, the host nation of the 2020 Candidates Tournament, stopped the air traffic with other countries to stem the spread of new coronavirus known as COVID-19.
“FIDE can not continue the tournament without guarantees for the players’ and officials’ safe and timely return home,” it said.
“The FIDE President [Arkady Dvorkovich] decided to stop the tournament. It will be continued later, with the exact dates to be announced as soon as the global situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic will allow,” the world’s chess body added.
This year’s Candidates Tournament has been held in Russian city of Yekaterinburg, having started on March 15. The contest was due to end on April 5.
Eight top chess players compete to win this tournament and the winner will have right to face the world chess champion, Magnus Carlsen from Norway.
After emerging in Wuhan, China last December, coronavirus has spread to at least 175 countries and regions, according to data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
Out of more than 487,600 confirmed cases, the death toll now exceeds 22,000, while over 117,700 have recovered.
Italy, China, Iran, and Spain continue to be the most affected countries.
Despite the rising number of cases, a vast majority of those infected by the virus suffer mild symptoms and recover.
The number of the coronavirus cases in Russia rose to 840, with 182 confirmed diagnosis over the last 24 hours, authorities said Thursday.
The country currently has three reported deaths, while 38 recovered.