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Overwatch League matches in South Korea canceled following coronavirus outbreak

Matches in China were canceled in January

Overwatch League - fans cheer at the Blizzard Arena during a match between the Dallas Fuel and Seoul Dynasty Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Overwatch League owner Blizzard Entertainment will cancel three more weeks of matches amid the coronavirus outbreak. Matches in South Korea scheduled between Feb. 29 and March 22 have been canceled “in order to protect the health & safety of our players, fans, & staff,” the company tweeted on Monday.

Earlier in February, Blizzard rescheduled a number of matches — originally scheduled across China, but canceled in January — to be played in a South Korean studio. These matches, as well as the Seoul Dynasty homestand event from March 7-8 at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, have been halted. Blizzard said it will share information about “when and where” matches will be held at a later date.

COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus, began to spread in China late last year. The majority of cases remain in China’s Hubei province, but cases have appeared worldwide. There are now more than 79,000 cases in “at least 29 countries,” according to data from John Hopkins University. South Korea has seen an increase in cases, now with 833, according to Vox — “the most cases outside of China,” it reported on Monday.

Concerns over the spread of COVID-19 have impacted the video game industry, both esports and elsewhere. Multiple esports events have been canceled following the outbreak in China. Last week, Sony announced it would pull out of the PAX East gaming convention in Boston; later, Sony, Oculus, and Facebook Gaming announced their withdrawal from this year’s Game Developers Conference. Kojima Productions announced Monday it’s cancelling its GDC plans, too.