The NBA has suspended its season in the US "until further notice" due to coronavirus, with the play-offs for one of the most-watched sporting leagues in the world due to start next month.
Last night's game between the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder was postponed after a player tested positive.
The Association has released a statement on the news, with the NBA Board of Governors yesterday meeting via teleconference to discuss the virus, the safety of those involved and proposed scenarios for dealing with the health threat.
"The NBA announced that a player on the Utah Jazz has preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19. The test result was reported shortly prior to the tip-off of Wednesday's game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. At that time, Wednesday's game was canceled. The affected player was not in the arena.
On Monday, #NBA star Rudy Gobert mocked #Coronavirus precautions by touching all the microphones at a press conference. On Wednesday it was reported that he had contracted the virus. The NBA season has since been suspended.https://t.co/NcRL4NIis9 pic.twitter.com/BQ6vfyjJw7
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) March 12, 2020
"The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of Wednesday's schedule of games until further notice. The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Utah Jazz released a statement acknowledging the news.
A statement from the Utah Jazz:
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) March 12, 2020
"This morning a player on the Utah Jazz tested negative for influenza, strep throat and an upper respiratory infection. The individual’s symptoms diminished over the course of today, however, in a precautionary measure, and in consultation and cooperation with NBA medical staff and Oklahoma health officials, the decision was made to test for COVID-19.
"A preliminary positive result came back right before tip-off of the Utah Jazz-Oklahoma City game. Subsequently, the decision was correctly made by the NBA to postpone the game. When it was determined that the individual would be tested, we immediately informed the league office.
"The health and safety of our players, our organization, those throughout our league, and all those potentially impacted by this situation are paramount in our discussions.
"We are working closely with the CDC, Oklahoma and Utah state officials and the NBA to determine how to best move forward as we gather more information. The individual is currently in the care of health officials in Oklahoma City. In coordination with the NBA and state officials, we will provide updates at the appropriate time.
Meanwhile, Basketball Ireland yesterday announced that all games in all competitions around the country are to be suspended with immediate effect as the Coronavirus continues to spread throughout Ireland.
IMPORTANT: Statement from Basketball Ireland on Coronavirus (COVID-19) https://t.co/i2nxpivdNG pic.twitter.com/vpVDvTxKKz
— Basketball Ireland (@BballIrl) March 11, 2020
In a statement today, they have said:
"The health and safety of the Basketball Ireland community is our priority and we are determined to be proactive regarding precautions to limit the spread of the Coronavirus
"Basketball Ireland is, therefore, instructing all affiliates to suspend all basketball competitions and events with immediate effect.
"We understand that this decision will result in inconvenience and disappointment to many players, coaches, officials, volunteers and supporters, particularly at this time when various
competitions are reaching their concluding stages.
"However, we are sure that all will understand that the decision is taken in the best interests, not just of the basketball community, but also family, friends and the wider community.
"The situation is rapidly changing and we will continue to monitor developments on a day-to-day basis.
"Further updates will be issued on a regular basis over the coming weeks."