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30 November 2021, 15:06

2021 Winter Universiade cancelled due to new COVID-19 variant

MINSK, 30 November (BelTA) – The Lucerne 2021 Winter Universiade has been cancelled due to a new coronavirus variant, TASS learned from the International University Sports Federation (FISU).

“The Universiade has been cancelled due to a recently discovered omicron variant. The decision has been taken because of the introduction by the Swiss authorities of a mandatory 10-day quarantine for visitors from African countries. As a result, it was determined that the Universiade in Lucerne could not take place,” the source said. Later, the source's information was confirmed by the press service of the Swiss University Sports Federation.

On Friday, the World Health Organization designated a variant of coronavirus B.1.1.529 found in the south of Africa with the Greek letter omicron. The variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning. Several changes in the spike protein have the potential to make it difficult for antibodies to neutralize the pathogen, which could affect vaccine efficacy. Preliminary evidence suggests the variat has an increased ability to spread.

The Winter Universiade in Lucerne was scheduled to take place on 11-21 December. The next Winter Universiade is to be held in Lake Placid, USA, in 2023. In August 2023 the Summer Universiade is to take place in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

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