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Hong Kong annual harbour swim cancelled due to pandemic

Swimmers take part in the annual race across Victoria Harbour in 2018. This year's event has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic
Swimmers take part in the annual race across Victoria Harbour in 2018. This year's event has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic Isaac LAWRENCE AFP/File
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Hong Kong (AFP)

An annual swim across Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour has become the latest sports event to be cancelled due to the pandemic as the city recorded a spike in local transmitted cases, organisers said on Friday.

This year's race was to be held in October but organisers said they decided to scrap the event after "prudent consideration" in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"The safety of swimmers and staff has always been our utmost priority," Ronnie Wong, president of the event organiser Hong Kong Amateur Swimming Association, said in a statement.

The harbour race was cancelled last year as well due to massive democracy protests that had rocked the city for months.

The finance hub was one of the first places to be struck by the coronavirus when it emerged from central China.

But it had impressive success in tackling the disease with just over 1,500 infections, 10 deaths and local transmissions all but ended.

Since July, however, more than 200 local infections have been recorded and officials believe the virus is spreading again among the densely populated city of 7.5 million.

On Thursday the city recorded a record high 67 cases with more than half of them untraceable.

A major book fair which was due to open this week was postponed.

And the city reimposed tough social distancing measures -- shuttering many businesses and making face masks mandatory on public transport.

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