Ed Woodward says Manchester United are monitoring coronavirus situation closely

Manchester United are closely monitoring the coronavirus situation as sporting events continue to be impacted, executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has said.

China has reported 77,658 cases and 2,663 deaths following the outbreak of the virus that has spread to a variety of countries – including Italy, where authorities have swiftly put in restrictions.

Four Serie A football fixtures were postponed over the weekend and the second leg of Inter Milan's Europa League round of 32 clash against Ludogorets will be played behind closed doors at San Siro.

Numerous rugby union fixtures have been affected, and Six Nations organisers are "monitoring this situation very closely".

On Tuesday, Ireland's minister for health Simon Harris called for the match between his country and Italy to be rescheduled from its current March 7 date.

Meanwhile, Olympic stalwart Dick Pound has warned that coronavirus is “the new war” and that Japan has three months to win it if the Tokyo Games are to go ahead.

And Woodward says United, who are involved in the Europa League, are keeping tabs on the "very fluid situation".

"Our thoughts go out to everyone in China and other countries affected by it," said Woodward.

"We've got many supporters obviously in China and the rest of Asia, and staff in Hong Kong so our first concern is for people's welfare.

"It's a very fluid situation and we're monitoring closely. We're aware of the impact to sporting events in Asia and what's obviously been happening in Italy in the last two days.

"But, to date, we haven't seen any disruption to sporting events in the UK and we are continuing to monitor the situation and will follow any and all guidance from the relevant authorities, including the Premier League and UEFA."

United are one of the most popular sports teams in China, having first visited in 1975 and returned there for a pre-season friendly against Tottenham in Shanghai last summer.

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