The coronavirus outbreak in China has affected the esports world and its events already, with the second week of LPL and WESG’s Asia-Pacific Finals having been postponed. Now, several Overwatch League teams based in China have spoken out about their concerns.
Guangzhou Charge made an announcement on Twitter stating that they have moved their players and staff to Seoul, South Korea, in order to prevent them from catching the virus. Their non-Chinese players have already made the journey to South Korea, while they are seeking Visas for their Chinese players as quickly as possible.
The Charge’s statement also commented on their Homestand Weekends this season, which are scheduled for Feb. 22 to 23, March 14 to 15, and March 21 to 22. Since the venue for these games, the International Sports and Culture Centre in Foshan, is about 600 miles from Wuhan City (where the coronavirus outbreak started), it is unclear whether the travel bans and fears of the virus itself will affect the weekends. Nenking Group, the owner of the team, has told fans that they will keep them updated as and when they know anything new.
The World Health Organisation recently changed the coronavirus risk classification from high to international, which may be the cause for increased concern for teams over the safety of staff and players. However, Chengdu Hunters, the third Chinese team in the League, has announced that it will not be leaving China, and instead will be taking extreme precautions to ensure their safety. It will be extending the team’s Chinese New Year holiday and have stocked up on masks and disinfection tools. The team also stated that “upon arrival, all personnel will have their temperatures checked and undergo full-body disinfection.”
Shanghai Dragons also released a statement assuring fans that they are relocating their staff and players to South Korea for their safety. They also said that they have “maintained close contact with the League” regarding their February Homestand games, and will be able to provide updates soon.