Jarosław Wieczorek, the provincial governor of the Śląskie province in southern Poland, decided that the e-sport event Intel Extreme Masters in Katowice will take place without an audience, due to the threat of SARS-CoV-2 virus, commonly called the coronavirus.
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The decision was made after consultation with Jarosław Pinkas, the Chief Sanitary Inspector.
“After taking into consideration the threat of the coronavirus, which appeared in Europe and following the recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO)... the provincial authorities forbid the organiser to run a mass sports event in Katowice with an audience,” the statement of the provincial governor reads.
Organisers, the Electronic Sports League Poland, declared in a statement that they understand the decision of the local authorities. “ESL is working on how to reach the holders of tickets and the guests. All the tickets will be refunded, the tournament will be held without the audience. It will be broadcasted online and on TV,” the organisers said.
The part of IEM, which starts on Friday, is the IEM Expo, a fair associated with the e-sport and videogames industry. However, the main sponsor, Intel, withdrew from this part of the event.
The finals in competitions of Counter-Strike: GO and Starcraft II video games will be held over the weekend in Spodek, the audience hall in Katowice.
Intel Extreme Masters will be held in Katowice for the fourth time. Last year, it attracted over 176,000 visitors.
More than 83,000 confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 virus were recorded worldwide as of noon, February 28. As many as 2,867 people died because of it, and 36,830 recovered.