Hong Kong will postpone legislative elections due to be held in September because of the coronavirus outbreak, the city’s leader said Friday.

In a news conference, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the move to postpone the Legislative Council elections, slated for September 6, was the most difficult decision she had made in the last seven months. She added that she had the support of the Chinese central government in making this decision.

Lam said the delay was needed to protect public health and guarantee fairness in the election.