China’s national women’s soccer team -- currently in quarantine at a Brisbane hotel -- will be allowed to play a series of Olympic qualifiers in Australia over the next two weeks with only slight changes to the schedule.
The squad’s first game against Thailand will be held on February 6 -- three days later than planned -- to allow its two-week isolation to conclude as a precaution against coronavirus currently spreading across China.
Football Federation Australia (FFA) said it had worked with authorities in China and locally to reschedule the fixtures.
The China side will also play Taiwan on February 9 and Australia on February 12.
“As always, the health of everyone involved, from players and officials to the fans and contractors, remains the number one priority,” said FFA chief executive James Johnson.
“This new format allows us to stage these matches with that priority in mind, and we now look forward to welcoming all teams and hosting a successful tournament.” Queensland state chief health officer Jeannette Young said no-one from the group, reportedly 32-strong including officials and staff, had shown any symptoms.
The quarantine had been a planned precautionary measure, she added.
China’s Football Association said four players, including Wuhan-based star midfielder Wang Shuang, had been forced to miss the trip because they were in quarantine at home, although none was showing symptoms of the virus.
The tournament was initially scheduled to be held in Wuhan -- ground zero of the outbreak -- from February 3 to 9. It was then moved to Nanjing in eastern China and later to Australia.
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