Japan are the second team to withdraw from the World Women's Curling Championship ©WCF

Japan are the latest team at the World Women's Curling Championship in Prince George to face COVID-19 issues, with Ikue Kitazawa's rink forfeiting its last round-robin match and a chance to qualify for the playoffs.

It comes after the team returned "a number" of positive COVID-19 results.

Kitazawa, Hasumi Ishigooka and Minori Suzuki competed against Silvana Tirinzoni's Switzerland, losing 11-3.

This meant vice-skip Seina Nakajima and alternate Chiaki Matsumura were ruled out with the virus.

Following this, Japan decided to forfeit their remaining round-robin match - a crucial tie against Kim Eun-jung's South Korea, who will now receive an automatic victory.

"The remaining players, while still providing negative results, have decided that for the health and safety of everyone involved in the Championship, forfeiting their game and avoiding the possibility of further positive results impacting the competition was the best decision," said the World Curling Federation in a statement.

Kim Eun-jung's South Korea secured qualification after Japan's forfeit ©WCF
Kim Eun-jung's South Korea secured qualification after Japan's forfeit ©WCF

A victory against South Korea would have helped Japan to the playoffs in the fourth seed position thanks to victories over the United States and Denmark too.

Because of the forfeit, the US and Denmark are guaranteed a spot in the top six.

It is the second team to withdraw from the Championship due to COVID-19, following on from Scotland.

Rebecca Morrison's team were making their debut at the World Championship before the virus heavily affected their team.

Morrison and alternate Fay Henderson had initially tested positive, which led to another alternate - Beth Farmer - travelling from their home country to Western Canada to complete a quartet again, but two more players tested positive for COVID-19 causing them to pull out.

Prince George was supposed to hold the 2020 World Championship, but this was cancelled on the eve of the tournament due to the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.