(TOKYO) — Tokyo Marathon organizers have closed the March 1 race to all participants other than elite athletes, due to the spread of coronavirus. “Tokyo Marathon Foundation have been preparing for the Tokyo Marathon 2020 (Sunday, March 1) while implementing preventive safety measures, however, now that case of COVID-19 has been confirmed within Tokyo, we cannot continue to launch the event within the scale we originally anticipated,” race organizers announced in a statement Monday. The foundation has dramatically reduced the number of runners who are eligible to participate to only “marathon elites and the wheelchair elites,” will be allowed to compete in what was previously expected to be a 38,000-person event.

Prior to Monday’s announcement, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation asked participants from China to defer entry until 2021 due to the country’s Hubei province being the epicenter of the virus outbreak, ESPN reports. Now, the foundation is extending the option to defer entry to runners impacted by Monday’s announcement. Race participants who defer entry until 2021 will still be required to pay entry fees for that year’s event.As of Monday, China’s National Health Commission said it had received 70,548 reports of confirmed cases and 1,770 deaths on the Chinese mainland. Outside of China, there were 683 laboratory-confirmed cases in 25 countries and three reported deaths as of Sunday, according to the WHO, which would bring the global death toll to 1,775.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.