There are currently no plans to cancel the Hong Kong Sevens ©Getty Images

Organisers of April's Hong Kong Sevens have said there are "no plans" to cancel the event due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The virus, which originated in China, has killed at least 170 people and has spread to 17 countries around the world.

A number of sporting events have been impacted, including the Hong Kong Marathon which was scheduled for February 8 and 9 but has now been cancelled.

With nobody sure how long the outbreak will last, or when it will be most serious, sporting organisers are under increased pressure to make decisions about events which could still be months away.

This could allow time for possible relocation.

"There are no plans to cancel the Hong Kong Sevens," Hong Kong Rugby Union chief executive Robbie McRobbie told the South China Morning Post.

"We are in regular contact with World Rugby and are keeping them updated with the situation on the ground here.

"There have been no conversations about changing dates or venue."

The tournament in Hong Kong is part of both the World Rugby Sevens Series and the World Rugby Women's Sevens Series.

It is one of the most famous legs on the circuits and takes place at Hong Kong Stadium.

McRobbie added that the outbreak of the SARS virus in 2003 meant they had experience of dealing with a similar situation.

The event was not cancelled although two teams did pull out.

A fan at the 2003 Hong Kong Sevens, which went ahead amid the SARS outbreak ©Getty Images
A fan at the 2003 Hong Kong Sevens, which went ahead amid the SARS outbreak ©Getty Images

"We are in a perverse way fortunate to have experienced this before in 2003 when the Hong Kong Sevens were successfully held," McRobbie said.

"We learned a lot from that experience and our contingency planning has been enhanced as a result.

"As in that period, we will open up direct communications with teams and other stakeholders to allay concerns as far as possible. 

"We are presently reviewing our measures from 2003 in light of developing information in an effort to minimise risk as far as possible."

Hong Kong has also had to deal with the prospect of the ongoing anti-Government protests impacting its sporting events.

The World Athletics Indoor Championships, scheduled for March in Nanjing, became the most high-profile event to be postponed because of the virus yesterday.

It has been delayed by a year until March 2021.

The opening test event for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, Alpine Skiing World Cup races in Yanqing next month, was also cancelled.

Other sports affected include boxing, football, wrestling, basketball, tennis and ice hockey.

German Olympic Sports Confederation President Alfons Hörmann described the illness as the "greatest threat" to Tokyo 2020, with Japan one of the countries with confirmed cases.