'Had it before it was a thing': Aussie star's shock coronavirus claims

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

Liz Cambage has made the bold declaration that she contracted coronavirus before it became a global crisis.

In an interview with the Herald Sun, the Aussie basketball star claims to have survived the virus while playing in China in December.

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“I think I had it before it was a global thing,” Cambage said.

“I was so weak, I couldn’t walk, I was in a wheelchair. I had pneumonia. I actually was sick in hospital and I honestly think I had corona.”

Cambage has since tested negative for the virus and returned home to Australia.

“I was in a really bad way. You don’t realise how great we have it here in Australia until you go to hospital in a country like China,’’ she said.

Liz Cambage says she had coronavirus before it was widely known. Image: Getty

The Chinese Basketball Association was forced to postpone the current season in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.

There are similar fears that the Tokyo Olympics will be cancelled in July, but Cambage holds no such worries.

“I think the media and people are reading too much into it and it’s causing hysterics in the general public,” she said.

“I can’t imagine them calling it off.’’

Olympics chief says Olympics won’t be cancelled

The president of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics organising committee has rebuffed speculation that the Games might be cancelled due to deepening concern about the coronavirus outbreak, declaring that was not an option.

“I am totally not considering this,” Yoshiro Mori told reporters at a briefing on Wednesday when asked about a possible cancellation.

Asked when the organisers could decide on changes to the Olympics, he said: “I'm not God so I don't know.”

He also said he was happy to hear International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach saying he was confident the Tokyo Olympics would be held on schedule.

Tokyo Olympics committee CEO Toshiro Muto also voiced confidence the summer games would begin on July 24 during a call with the IOC board.

Muto Toshiro discusses the coronavirus situation. (Photo by Du Xiaoyi/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Du Xiaoyi via Getty Images)

Italy bans fans from all sporting events

Meanwhile, Italy has closed all schools and universities and barred fans from all sporting events as governments trying to curb the spread of the coronavirus around the world resort to increasingly sweeping measures.

With the virus now reported in more than 80 countries, Saudi Arabia has barred citizens from making the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, Iran has cancelled Friday prayers for a second week and leaders everywhere are pleading with citizens to put an end to the traditional symbol of mutual trust, the handshake.

The Italian government decreed on Wednesday soccer games and other sporting events will take place without fans until at least April 3.

Italy is is the epicentre of Europe's coronavirus outbreak. More than 3000 people have been infected and at least 107 have died, the most of any country outside China.

It has also closed schools for 8.4 million students until March 15, with at least four other countries - Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Iraq - taking similar action.

"I know it's a decision with an impact ... I obviously want my students back in school as soon as possible," said Education Minister Lucia Azzolina.

with AAP