The Pokemon Company has cancelled their premiere European video game and card game tournament due to concerns over the COVID-19 virus. Earlier today, the Pokemon Company announced that the 2020 Europe International Championships as a cautionary response to COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus. The event was scheduled to take place in April in Berlin. Per a statement released on Pokemon's webpage, the decision was made based on "current recommendations set forth by public health officials," including the World Health Organization. At this time, there are no plans to cancel other Pokemon events, including the North America International Championship taking place in June, although the Pokemon Company will continue to monitor concerns and update accordingly.
The Europe International Championships is one of the Pokemon Company's largest annual events, with hundreds of competitors seeking both prize money and championship points to earn an invite to the World Championships, which will be held in London over the summer. It's unclear whether the Pokemon Company will have some way for European competitors affected by the cancellation to earn Championship Points should the World Championships take place later this year.
Public health officials have recommended limiting or cancelling numerous public events in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, a respiratory virus that first appeared in late 2019 in China. Outbreaks have been reported in several countries, including Italy, Iran, and South Korea. A number of cases have also been reported in the United States, particularly on the West Coast.
The Pokemon Company and its partners have cancelled several other events due to coronavirus concerns. In addition to the Pokemon Company cancelling a number of events in Japan at various Pokemon Center retail stores, Pokemon Go has also cancelled raid events and other community-based events in countries most affected by the virus.