Coronavirus impact: Golf postponed, badminton behind closed doors, advisory for cricketers, SAI centre shut
The figures in India include five positive cases in Delhi and nine persons diagnosed with the infection in Uttar Pradesh till Wednesday morning
The novel coronavirus continued to affect Indian sporting events on Wednesday, forcing postponement of the prestigious Indian Open golf, lockdown of the SAI's southern centre besides prompting the BCCI to issue a health advisory to cricketers. It was also decided that the upcoming prestigious India Open Badminton will be held behind closed doors.
Among others, India's widely-travelled cricketers were advised by their board to avoid eating out at "unknown and unhygienic" restaurants and clicking selfies with fans. The players have also been told to "avoid close contact and interaction with individuals outside the team environment (to avoid cross-infection from unknown individuals)." The number of confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in the country has risen to 60, with two fresh positive cases -- one each from Delhi and Rajasthan -- being reported, the health ministry said on Wednesday. Globally, the death toll crossed 4,000 and the number of infected continued to swell beyond 100,000. The figures in India include five positive cases in Delhi and nine persons diagnosed with the infection in Uttar Pradesh till Wednesday morning.
The total number of 60 confirmed cases include 16 Italian tourists. Considering the extraordinary situation, Badminton Association of India (BAI) said the India Open Super 500 tournament, a crucial event for the Tokyo Olympic qualification, will be held without any spectators. Open will be held as planned at the KD Jadhav stadium in Indira Gandhi Indoor stadium but to ensure safety of everybody we have decided not to allow any spectator this time," BAI General Secretary, Ajay K Singhania told PTI. The day also saw the postponement of the Indian Open golf with the organisers promising to reschedule the event at "some point" later this year. The event was to take place from March 19-22 at the DLF Golf and Country Club here. "All parties are looking into the possibility of rescheduling the tournament at some point later in the year, but there are no definitive plans at this stage," read a statement from Asian Tour In Bengalurur, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) locked down its southern centre as a precautionary measure in the wake of the city recording four coronavirus cases in two days.
"In view of the coronavirus situation, it was decided to lock down the SAI centre here. As top athletes train here, we cannot take chances with their health and hence the move," a source said. Also, those training at the facility have been advised not to leave the campus keeping in mind the situation. The badminton tourney was the day's first event to be affected. Given the health hazard, the government has suspended all regular visas/e-visas granted on or before March 3 to nationals of Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan who have not yet entered India. The four countries are worst affected by the outbreak and have been put under varied degrees of lockdown. The government has also made a 14-day mandatory quarantine for people coming from Korea, Iran and Italy to India. According to the advisory, passengers arriving directly or indirectly from China, South Korea, Japan, Iran, Italy, Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand, Singapore and Taiwan must undergo medical screening at the port of entry.
The coronavirus outbreak and inclement weather also affected the ticket sales for the opening ODI between India and South Africa in Dharamsala. Only 16,000 tickets out of 22,000 were sold till Tuesday for the series opener at the picturesque Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium. "Foreign fans, who add up to nearly 1,000, are not travelling this time because of various travel advisories. We used to cater to a lot of spectators from adjoining Punjab, Harayana and Delhi which is not notable this time because of the current situation," an HPCA official said. The BCCI medical team held a meeting with the national players and told them to follow every health ministry advisory on personal hygiene. "All the public washrooms at the stadium will be stocked with hand wash liquids and sanitisers. The medical staff and first aiders at the stadiums will be keeping a record of all patients seeking treatment and follow up as may be necessary," the BCCI said after the meeting.
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