The Asian Football Confederation on Wednesday postponed World Cup qualifying matches scheduled for October and November until next year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The second stage of Asian qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has been on hold since March, but the ongoing coronavirus situation in several countries prompted the AFC to abandon plans to resume during the October and November international windows.

Japan's Takumi Minamino celebrates after heading in the opening goal during the first half of a Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifier against Mongolia in Saitama near Tokyo on Oct. 10, 2019. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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The AFC has yet to announce new dates for the matches, which double as qualifiers for the 2023 Asian Cup in China.

"With the aim of protecting the health and safety of all participants, FIFA and the AFC will continue to work together to closely monitor the situation in the region and to identify new dates for the respective qualifying matches," the AFC said in a statement on its website.

Japan, currently unbeaten on top of qualifying Group F, had been scheduled to play Myanmar and Mongolia in October before taking on Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan during the November window.