31st Sea Games - Vietnam 2021 Covid-19 Pandemic
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SEA Game 2021 in Vietnam postponed over coronavirus
Minh Vu 21:20, 2021/07/08
New dates will be proposed for consideration, but speculation about the hosting of the games in 2022 has fueled as well.

The 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) due to take place on November 21-December 2, 2021 in Vietnam will be postponed over Covid-19 concerns in the region.

 Performers from Vietnam participate in the closing ceremony of the SEA Games in Capas, the Philippines, on Dec 11, 2019. Photo: AFP

The SEA Games Federation made the decision today [July 8] at the virtual meeting participated by all 11 regional countries, regional media reported, adding that Vietnam’s National Olympic Committee will explore new dates for consideration.

Representatives of Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand have also confirmed the postponement and some gave the new dates in 2022 instead.

“The SEA Games Federation members praised the work done thus far by the Vietnam Organizing Committee but took note of the current conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic in the Southeast Asian region,” according to the Olympic Council of Malaysia.

On Thursday [July 8], Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang of Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry told reporters that authorities had recommended to “postpone the hosting of 31st SEA Games to a more appropriate time.”

Securing the safety of more than 10,000 athletes, officials, and other participants at the Games plus the fact many have not been able to train during the pandemic were previously were cited as reasons for the postponement. 

This year's competition is expected to feature 40 sports. 

Last month, Hanoi proposed to postpone the competition as the Covid-19 pandemic was sweeping the regional countries. It was reported that eight out of 11 member states of the SEA Games Federation had objected to Vietnam’s proposal.

To date, Covid-19 is ravaging regional countries with Indonesia facing the highest infections, at more than 2.42 million, followed by the Philippines with 1.45 million, Malaysia 808,000, Thailand more than 308,000, Singapore more than 62,000, Cambodia 58,000. Vietnam is also seeing an increasing number of cases, 24,000, with the current epicenter of Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam hosted the SEA Games once in 2003 in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

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